While the media industry has experienced rapid digital transformation over the past few years, many companies are still relying on homegrown technology solutions for business-critical tasks. These
The last 18 months has seen every company in the world having to make big changes to their ways of working in order to adapt to lockdowns, travel restrictions, and increased Zoom meetings that have come from a global pandemic - Lineup included. Most office-based roles had to shift very quickly to working from home, and companies closed their physical offices - some temporarily, and some more permanently. How people worked with company information and data became almost entirely electronic, and the protection given by – or assumed of – a physical office building was removed, with people’s work laptop, documents, and meetings being located primarily in their own homes instead for the first time.
Fortunately for us, Lineup was in a good starting position for this transition: most of our staff were used to working mobile, with frequent meetings & workshops out of the home officer, and working on-site with our customers. We have always used cloud-based SaaS solutions, being firm believers in the flexibility that this model allows for, so our systems and processes were set up to more easily allow mobile working for most of our people. We had to make some adjustments for departments that typically remained in office(e.g. Finance and HR), but even their systems and tools were cloud-based, and the adjustments were mostly human, not technical!
Even with this advantage, we couldn't assume that everything would work just fine - or that switching to completely mobile working would be a smooth transition. Before any countries announced a lockdown, we had a trial run: all of our offices closed for two days and everyone worked from home. Doing this before it was mandated allowed us to examine what worked well and what didn’t, and allowed us the bandwidth to make some adjustments. Because of our practices already in place, our trial did so well that most Lineup employees did not return to offices afterwards; a week or two later when countries across the world started announcing lockdowns, we were already a successful home-based company.
Though comfortable and confident, we knew we couldn't stop there. We conducted a thorough risk assessment of the new arrangement, asking the following questions:
As we conducted this risk assessment, it was clear it was timely as the world saw a massive increase in phishing attacks of all kinds, with the sophistication of these attacks also skyrocketing.
As part of this, we identified some scenarios to determine how we would handle different risks and how they interact and build on each other. Many of us know what these risks are, and they often follow a pattern:
Out of the risk assessment came an action plan, with short, medium, and long-term changes identified, owners assigned, and completion dates set. In general, most of the changes we made related to our corporate data and information as our protection of our customer data was already very robust. Below you'll see the action steps we took, and can use this checklist as a starting point for your company:
Our users are at the center of everything we do. For any security strategy to work, your users need to be informed, educated, and involved in the whole process. Hackers typically see users as the weak point in any system, so it is very powerful to make them the strongest part of the whole process.
We used technology to add protection where it brings real benefit. Tools like endpoint protection, hard drive encryption, and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can have a big impact on different kinds of attack vector. Implementing MFA can be one of the simplest, and most effective defenses against human-targeted attacks, and will probably cost you nothing more than some simple training and education time.
We have more security improvements planned over the next year, and one thing you can never do is think that your cybersecurity work is finished in this fast-evolving tech world we live in. There are always new threats, new lessons to learn, and (fortunately) new ideas and techniques for building up your defenses. Covid and its restructuring of home and work life made most of us reassess and revamp our cybersecurity measures, but for Lineup it was mostly a refocus with a bigger emphasis on things like mobility and sharing. As many companies continue to work remotely, or begin to hybridize, the same best practice principles hold true: understand your risks, educate your teams, get good advice, and follow solid, secure practices to maintain and strengthen your cybersecurity standards.
As CIO of Lineup, Rob Hesmondhalgh is responsible for the technical teams: Core Development; Integrations Development; Testing; Infrastructure; and Customer Support, thus delivering the services needed to develop and maintain our products, provide our solution to our customers, and support those customers and their service requests.
Rob is also responsible for compliance and security including internal information security, the attainment and maintenance of audits and certifications (ISO27001, ISAE3402, PCI), and regulatory compliance.
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