The Blog

Security Hints & Tips

Employees work with company information on a daily basis and can be the first line of defence, when working remotely or with customers and clients at their sites. However, we all have a responsibility in maintaining safe and secure working practices and procedures.

When we work in an office environment, we work side by side with colleagues and this can help to provide focus and reinforce our security awareness. However, in this current climate, when working remotely, we lose that daily interaction and may lose sight of the threats and scams that loom close by. It therefore becomes even more important that we remain vigilant, ensuring we take a moment to deal with potential threats or scams that may come from emails, texts or telephone calls.

Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and even the police, through direct contact or via the internet. They may spend hours researching you for their scams (looking you up on social media), hoping you’ll let your guard down just for one moment…

It’s upsetting, but not surprising that scammers are using the concern of the current pandemic to increase their activity. Over the last couple of months we have seen:

  • Government brands to trick people, including HMRC making spurious offers of financial support through unsolicited email, phone calls and messages.
  • Mobile phone company branded scams stating failed payments, with threats of phone suspension or fines through phone messages.
  • Online shopping scams where people have ordered face masks, hand sanitisers and other products which have never arrived.

These criminals are exploiting COVID-19 to scam people and this is only likely to increase. Therefore you need to be aware and prepared…

  • STOP – Take a moment to stop and think before clicking on links or parting with your money, your personal or work related information.
  • CHALLENGE – Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Criminals will try to rush or panic you – don’t let them.
  • PROTECT – Contact your organisation’s information security point of contact and inform your line manager if you think you’ve had an incident at work.  Contact your bank or relevant providers directly if you think you’ve been the victim of scam and don’t be afraid to call 101 or use an online crime reporting tool on your Force’s website to report it to the police.

Look after yourselves, your friends and your family members and stay safe.

You can find more information on fraud, tricks and scams on the www.gov.uk website, and guidance on online safety during COVID-19 at www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk.

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Top Tips for Fledgling Project Managers

As a Project Manager, or PM, you can feel like ‘a Jack of all trades and master of none’. But ultimately you are a problem solver, getting the right people in a room at the right time, ensuring everyone is clear on requirements and driving the work forward to meet project objectives, timelines and budget.

You are required to juggle many tasks simultaneously and keep everyone happy!

Here are our top tips for fledgling Project Managers in digital transformation projects.

1. Understand the relevance and importance of project documentation, such as Highlight Reports. Whilst Highlight Reports may seem like a chore that come around all too often, they area really important method of communicating with other areas within the project/programme/portfolio. The report is an opportunity to provide reassurance to key stakeholders that milestones are being met, flag any issues and celebrate key achievements and successes.

2. Don’t suffer in silence! Ask for help, advice and guidance. Your team will be made up of a variety of people, from varied backgrounds with a wealth of experience. Leverage their knowledge to help you out and increase your own understanding.

3. Your Programme Manager is your friend, not your enemy. Work as a team, learn from their experience and harness their knowledge.

4. Ensure everyone is involved and included. Demonstrating Project Ethics such as honesty, integrity and respects for others ensures that’s no-one is kept in the dark and everyone is working to the same plan, with the same situational understanding. This will create a cohesive team and will ultimately help you achieve your goals.

5. Gain an understanding of other roles within your team. Try to spend some time shadowing or doing some ‘go learn’ sessions with other roles. It will help you to plan better and you will have a greater understanding of timescales. They won’t be able to pull the wool over your eyes if you have some knowledge of their ‘world’!

6.You can’t change what happens, but you can change the way you feel and deal with a situation.” If something isn’t working as well as expected, keep calm and take a different approach. Leverage your tools such as the risk and issue register to ensure that you have mitigations in place to manage and monitor these efficiently and effectively, and do not be afraid to escalate when required.

7. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Keep a record of any lessons learned throughout the project, review and make any recommendations at the end of the project, revisiting them before a new project starts.

8. Your PRINCE2 book is your bible –dust it off and use it!

9. You will become Chief Nagger! You may not have control of people’s workloads, priorities or those who are avoiding getting a task completed, but you need to remain persistent to ensure the project stays on track. Mix up your approach to keep people interested. These tools may help:•Use an action plan•Call for a ‘catch up’ •Hold a practical workshop•Introduce a tracker spreadsheet to demonstrate tasks that need completing etc.

10. Try and see new or daunting tasks as a positive opportunity. An opportunity to learn a new skill –no one will ever be able to take that away from you. As a PM, you are always exposed to new experiences, new areas of work etc. You may not be an expert in these areas,but you will always be learning, meaning you will be armed with the knowledge for the next occasion.

11. Be prepared for anything! Don’t assume or take anything for granted.

12. Look after yourself. Take time to do something for you and your wellbeing throughout the day. At times, projects can feel all-consuming, but time spent looking after yourself will leave you feeling refreshed and hopefully less overwhelmed.

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