Lasting Legacy or Temporary Disruption—Either Way, the Games Will Affect IT

March 5, 2012 No Comments »
Lasting Legacy or Temporary Disruption—Either Way, the Games Will Affect IT

Whether you’re looking forward to the spectacle or dreading the disruption, organizations need to make sure they’re ready if they’re to ensure business continuity and IT security during London’s Olympics and Paralympics games. And it’s not just London gearing up to host the games, as 34 venues throughout the U.K. will also be taking part. Are you ready?

There are many ways the games will affect the U.K.’s businesses this summer. For example, the transport network will have a significant increase in numbers all trying to get from A to B. While the daily commute is already intolerable for many, it’s likely to be much worse from July to September with resultant travel disruption. During big sporting events, organizations usually experience high demand for time off and even an increase in “sick” days. With the games on home soil this is probably going to soar as people either want to soak up the atmosphere or escape the debacle.

In an effort to minimize disruption, many organizations have already decided to offer people the opportunity to work from home or suggest they temporarily work from another office or at a customer/supplier site to stay productive. Others will no doubt allow staff to alter their hours of work or even watch events while at work. But whatever action you decide on, remember that any flexible working arrangements need to be clearly communicated to employees and, where appropriate, secure remote working processes must be put in place. Without such measures, HR controversy and IT security issues may leave their mark well after the games have ended.

Workers usually protected by the confines of the office won’t necessarily have a clue on how to work safely from alternative locations, especially if they will be using an “untrusted” home computer. It is up to their employer to provide secure remote access for workers. One of the easiest ways to do this is to ensure that all data stays on corporate servers and information is accessed securely using SSL, two-factor authentication and secure browser technology. In the event that sensitive files must be taken home, they should always be encrypted to protect information.

The games provide the perfect catalyst to review remote working policies and ensure the right technology is available to support remote working.  Your flexible working policy should make it clear whether the new working arrangements form part of a permanent policy or are only operational for the duration of the games. Automated policy management tools provide an efficient and time-saving alternative to more traditional forms of communication, such as memos and email. ACAS recommends that organizations realistically set out what can and cannot be accommodated. Staff who fully understand the reason for your security and staffing decisions are more likely to adhere to them. For the others it never hurts to spell out the consequences of non-adherence.

Cryptzone Olympic Preparation Tips for IT

  • Introduce technology to support secure remote working
  • Create, and then regularly revisit, your home and mobile working policy, making sure each point is explained in simple language with no room for misinterpretation
  • Focus your users’ attention by emphasising the consequences of non-adherence. Keep these personal, instant and non-negotiable
  • As part of your communication and awareness program, introduce random testing to reveal gaps in understanding.

The London Olympics are a hurdle to overcome, but by investing in technology that will continue to be a business asset long after the games have finished, you could be left with an Olympic legacy instead of a bad memory. The Games are coming—whether you’re ready or not.

About the Author

Grant Taylor is U.K. VP of Cryptzone. The Cryptzone Group is a technology innovator of proactive controls to mitigate IT security risk in the key areas of policy compliance, content security, secure access and endpoint security. For further information, visit www.cryptzone.com.

Cryptzone will be on Stand D90 at Infosecurity Europe 2012, the number-one industry event in Europe, held on April 24–26, 2012, at the prestigious venue of Earl’s Court, London. The event provides an unrivalled free education program, as well as exhibitors showcasing new and emerging technologies and offering practical and professional expertise. For further information, visit www.infosec.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of Paul Gaborit.

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