With Christmas just around the corner, most of us have finished all projects and met every end-of-year deadline. And though 12 days of Christmas might have felt more like 12 minutes, we hope no accidents happened during the festive period fun. To provide you with a helpful reminder of the 12 biggest risks businesses face this season, we’ve gathered them into a handy calendar.
On the 1st day of Christmas…your office was burgled
During office festivities, physical security can sometimes slip meaning it’s the perfect time for thieves to strike. Whether office equipment or confidential information, all can be a target for unscrupulous festive thieves.
Ensuring everyone in the team locks away their valuables, company equipment and confidential documents is the first step, as well as staying observant of strangers visiting your workplace. And if all else fails - make sure the right contents insurance is in place for your business.
On the 2nd day of Christmas… you made an awful joke
While Christmas parties are a great opportunity for staff to let their hair down, sometimes this can go too far. When staff or management cross the bounds of usual office etiquette - inappropriate jokes, social interactions - it’s now more likely than ever that they will be rightly held to account.
First advice would be to drink responsibly. To damage control any employment practices claims, get the right D&O cover in your insurance plan that includes an Employment Practices Liability add-on. But, most of all, just remember to keep it professional.
On the 3d day of Christmas… your mistake caused a loss
The perceived wisdom is that business activities slow down around Christmas, but this is rarely the case. At this time of year, it’s easy for staff to let work slip or miss SLAs, earning the wrath of clients. Client claims for mistakes or missed KPIs are the present no one wants for Christmas.
Planning well in advance and getting major deadlines out of the way and quality-checking your deliverables is a good start. No one says you can’t let your hair down and have fun, but do consider your schedule the following day. Even a tiny detail overlooked may cause a major client displeasure, leading to even graver consequences for you and your business. And as part of common sense, having the right professional indemnity cover will always guarantee you a peace of mind.
On the 4th day of Christmas… your website made no sales
Christmas is one of the busiest trading periods for many companies, particularly online retailers. But the holiday season is also a notorious time for IT failure when people take their eye off the ball. Website error or even a DDoS attack during this peak period can lead to a significant loss of income.
With attackers lurking on a quest for a weak link, it is now more important than ever to double up on the server security. Installing decent security software and configuring the firewall in a fitting way is the first step, along with keeping all external software and services up-to-date and getting a comprehensive cyber cover.
On the 5th day of Christmas… your office was a wreck
With office parties in full swing, the festive season is a peak time for property damage. Whether dancing on the tables, or trying to perform gymnastic feats around the pot plants, at Christmas, no computer, table or chair is truly safe.
Taking the party outside of the workplace premises is always a good idea, particularly, if your team is known for their ability to have a good time. Let the drinks flow freely away from your company property and the dancing occur on a proper dance floor rather than your desks. However, it never hurts to have a troubleshooting plan - insuring your contents and equipment with accurate cover will give you the bliss if anything does go wrong.
On the 6th day of Christmas… you dialled 999
The modern workplace movement - encouraged by the Silicon Valley tech giants - has worked wonders for the work environment. But with many workplaces holding office-based parties, the potential for injury is much higher. The HSE reports that 29% of all workplace injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls - scooters and alcohol definitely don’t mix.
We recommend saving your dance moves for the dance floor rather than the bar table. But in case your team does get up to no good, make sure you have sufficient employer’s liability cover - just in case the celebrations get a little more Wham than anticipated, leaving you needing more than just a band-aid.
On the 7th day of Christmas… the wrong client got CC’d
Sore heads after festive shenanigans can be a big information security challenge. It’s easier than ever to accidentally copy in the wrong email addresses or wrongly attach files that shouldn’t leave the organisation and with GDPR in force, the potential impact of data loss is now even more severe.
A cyber breach might happen at any time, and staying alert, let alone having a proper damage control plan, is an integral part of your company’s cyber security. The right cyber insurance cover, along with professional indemnity, will take care of your business even if something does slip through your hands.
On the 8th day of Christmas… you broke the IP law
Marketing increases hugely around Christmas and New Year as brands seek to capitalise on festive good feeling to sell their products. But, in the race to develop compelling campaigns and chose eye-catching festive imagery, intellectual property rights can often fall by the wayside, leaving businesses open to claims from copyright owners.
Having a stock library licence sometimes isn’t enough - some images have their own restrictions. Ensuring the correct use of intellectual property can save you big bucks on a copyright infringement case. This is why IP infringement insurance exists as part of PI cover - to protect your business’ reputation in the worst-case scenarios.
On the 9th day of Christmas… you got a hefty fine
Inebriated employees can be a dangerous mix when out of the office, making the Christmas period a peak time for things getting broken accidentally. Damage to property when out and about is a big problem. Likewise, a wrong word or accidental bump into other revellers can easily flare up into fisticuffs, leaving employers and individuals with potentially hefty liabilities.
Make sure your team is well aware of the risks involved within the chosen venue and the ramifications that may be caused by taking the party too far. It’s worth reminding them that it’s time to drink champagne, but not dance on the tables. And don’t forget to get proper public liability insurance in place. Dodging the bullet has never been easier.
On the 10th day of Christmas…your employees were scammed
Most employees are vigilant about suspicious emails, but after a night out defences aren’t always at their highest. Social engineering through impersonation is, unfortunately, growing rapidly and during the holiday season employees are more likely to miss the red flags and accidentally send information or money to impostors.
Ensure that every employee has enabled dual authentication on every site or service storing important data or payment information. A vital part of cyber security is having a solid plan for damage control, in case all the measures taken to prevent an attack have failed in one way or another. As such, investing in the right cyber insurance can put your mind at ease.
On the 11th day of Christmas… office banter went too far
Bullying in the workplace is unfortunately still widespread, and Christmas parties can be a big pressure point. ‘Funny’ photos and compromising videos of employees enjoying themselves perhaps a little too enthusiastically can be a big source of heartache, especially given how easily and quickly they can be shared today.
As an employer, the first thing you should do to prevent acts of cyber bullying is having a clear policy in place that outlines the types of behaviours falling under the term. It is then up to the staff to adhere to it, as they will be fully aware of the consequences that an act of friendly “office banter” might bring. Management, on the other hand, have to set an example for their teams, but also think one step ahead - getting the right D&O insurance including an employment practices liability cover.
On the 12th day of Christmas…your teammates caused a storm
Alcohol is often referred to as a ‘social lubricant’ but when people lose inhibitions, it’s easier than ever to text, tweet or post something one shouldn’t. An unpopular statement or ‘joke’ that doesn’t seem so funny in full daylight, can easily lead to a social media storm and reputational damage for individuals and companies.
To prevent unwanted posts from entering the public domain, adjust your privacy settings across all social media platforms so that all uploads have to be approved by senior management before they go live. Alternatively, the right D&O and cyber covers will have your back even if something does slip through the net. After all, you wouldn’t drink and drive, so why tipple too much before you tweet?
Stay safe out there, folks. And from all of us at Digital Risks, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!