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The New Normal -- What is It? And, Yes, It's Here to Stay

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

The New Normal. We've all heard it. But what is the New Normal anyway? How is it changing our lives? Perhaps, forever.

On top of the many things that have happened in 2020, another life-changing trend toward online shopping and no-contact pickup and away from shopping in-store has changed. Consider, in the span of less than three weeks - between April 1st and April 20th of 2020 - online shopping, including in-store and curbside pickup, increased 208 percent. And it has only continued to grow.

Since that first initial jump, those figures have accelerated dramatically. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, e-commerce sales amounted to $212 billion in the three months ending in June, accounting for 16.1 percent of the country's total retail sales ($1,311 billion). That's an increase of 4.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020 and it's up from 10.8 percent in Q2 2019.

With the shift, consumers are learning how to utilize the best practices for staying cyber safe while shopping online for those Christmas returns or those semi-annual sales we love so much, including:

  • Being careful and intentional with the stores you shop at, especially when visiting their websites (look for https:// in front of their website URL) to protect your financial and personal information.
  • Watching your email closely for possible email scams. If you're not sure of the source, don't click on the email and delete it!

If you believe you've been a victim of identity theft, be sure and visit the Indiana Cybersecurity Hub page to learn the steps on how to Report a Cyber Crime.

Another trend following Hoosiers into the New Normal is working remotely. For a lot of us, the home office is rapidly becoming a permanent part of our home and it's important to understand how to keep you and your workers safe.

We wrote about Working From Home Long Term in a previous blog, but in case you missed it, here's a reminder of some of the cybersecurity tips to help you, including:

  • Updating your passwords consistently and keeping strong passwords is important to protect your work and personal accounts safe.
  • Being sure you keep your passwords a secret and you don't reuse old passwords and make a password-changing "schedule" to keep things current and safe.
  • Adding antivirus software to your devices. Most devices come with some sort of basic antivirus software, but upgrading to a more sophisticated antivirus software will help ensure that you are better protected against the possibility of a cyberattack.
  • Making sure, too, you change any default passwords (i.e. routers) as an added measure of protection when purchasing and/or installing any new equipment.

As we've already discovered, the New Normal isn't always easy, but it's becoming something we're getting better at doing, especially as we try and get through it all.

As Indiana's Cybersecurity Hub, we want to make sure that Hoosiers are equipped with all the tools they need to keep themselves and their families safe. To get the latest, be sure to subscribe to our blog, on Twitter, or visit our Facebook page.

Here's to a Cybersafe New Year!