Cyber attacks are putting small businesses at risk. Attacks continue to grow each year and small businesses have a bullseye on them.
When it comes to cyber crime and fraud size does not matter. Large companies may seem like a more attractive target but because SMB’s have less resources that can often lead to gaps in their security.
Hackers love nothing more than an easy target.
The results of a cyber attack can damage a company severely, sometimes to the point of going out of business.
Cyber security needs to be an important of part of your business and following these cyber security tips are a great way to start fully protecting your business.
Know what you are protecting against
The first step a business must take is knowing what they are protecting from. There are two main threats a business will face. Malicious threats and accidental breaches.
A malicious threat is a deliberate attempt to cause your business harm. In 2016 almost half of UK businesses detected a breach. A report by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport found 46% of companies suffered from a cyber attack or breach of their computer systems. Before a business can protect itself, it must understand what cyber attacks will look like.
Accidental breaches are unintentional breaches such as an employee losing their laptop. They are just as serious as malicious attacks and will need to be protected against. Your business needs to be prepared to protect against both these threats.
Do you understand your level of digital privacy? What is your personal threshold for the information you make available online?
Write your cyber security policy
Every business should write a cyber security policy. Security will only work if all your employees are aware of what they should or shouldn’t do. By writing a policy you can then educate your staff on keeping the business safe.
Your policy should include, but not be limited too:
- What to do with suspicious emails
- Data backup
- Disaster recovery
- What files require encryption
- Data storage
Make sure to keep your policy updated. Cyber attacks are continually updated so cyber security needs to be updated regularly.
Train your staff
You might be surprised to know but your staff could be your biggest cyber security threat. Whilst it might not be on purpose, clicking on an infected link in an email for example, the consequences are just as serious.
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that most incidents of data breach or loss could be attributed to human error. Training your staff on cyber security can be the biggest win a business will have.
Just like how you will update your policy you will need to continue to train your staff on what applications are safe to use, what emails they shouldn’t open and how to create strong passwords.
Use a security specialist
Protecting your business is no small job. As mentioned earlier small businesses are often a target because they don’t have the resources to protect themselves. If you feel your business needs help in protecting itself from cyber attack, then look for a IT support or IT security provider.
You will quickly realise that the cost of expert help is much cheaper than the cost of a successful cyber attack against your business. If you have any doubt whatsoever in your ability to fully protect your business, then speak to an IT Support company. Even if it is just for advice on cyber security you will reap the benefits.
Protect your passwords
Whilst this may seem obvious there are still best practices being ignored. Passwords should be as strong as possible and should never be stored in unencrypted files. Make sure passwords are changed frequently.
Stay up to date
Cyber security policies and processes should be updated regularly. Cyber attacks are not only on the rise they are also continually being updated. A business should stay up to date on cyber security trends. Reading blogs, such as this one, is a good way to stay up to date in the fast-moving world of cyber security.
Updates and Patches
Part of staying up to date is keeping your software up to date. Keeping your anti-virus software up to date is of vital importance. As cyber attacks are updated you must keep installing your anti-virus updates so the software can keep up with the attacks.
Recent cyber attacks have seen the attackers target machines that haven’t installed the latest patches to their software. When an attack occurs, new patches are often rolled out to protect from the attack. If you use an IT support company, they should be installing all these patches for you. If they are not, you should call us straight away.
A recent business trend is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Whilst it can be a great way to allow your staff more flexibility it can be a security threat. Mobile devices are often ignored when looking when planning cyber security.
Before a device is added to your network make sure it meets the standards of your cyber security. Although mobile device-management solutions are beyond the budget of most small businesses, educating users of the risks, on-device security software and properly implemented network controls can offer reasonable all-round protection.
Start protecting your business
The rise in cyber attacks has made cyber security even more important to small businesses. The threat is real and it is severe enough to cripple a business. If you’re worried about your businesses cyber security you should act now.
These steps are a great way to start protecting your business but the best way you can protect your business is with expert help. Using an IT support company will protect your business, free up resources within your business and give you peace of mind.
Cyber security can seem a daunting prospect but by following this approach your business will become more secure.