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Head in the sand about cyber risks?

May 17, 2018


These security basics will help!


Cyber-attacks and data breaches are now commonplace in businesses of all sizes, with official research revealing that two in five small firms were hit in the last year.

High profile attacks, such as WannaCry in 2017, show how devastating the fall-out can be, including business downtime, loss of sensitive data and reputational damage, not to mention regulatory fines and legal costs. A fifth of SMEs affected by the WannaCry breach said it cost them more than £10,000!

But despite the risks, most small businesses would agree that it’s easy to let cyber security slip down the priority list and put it off until tomorrow. But one of these days, you may just find that’s too late.

Here are some pointers on the basics that will make a big difference to keeping those cyber nasties out:

Back it up: Cyber-attacks frequently lead to the loss of valuable data, which is why backing up your systems is rule number one. Make sure that you don’t leave your back-up device connected to your computer, test it regularly and if possible keep it off the premises, or better still in the cloud, so it’s isolated from any possible incidents.  

Protection on the move: Mobile devices are more vulnerable than fixed systems, so ensure these haven’t forgotten to protect them. That includes password, fingerprint or pin protection and remote locking, wiping or tracking, in case they get swiped.

Bolster your malware defences: If malware does make it on to your systems, anti-virus software and a solid, enabled firewall will make the world of difference. Just make sure you keep these updated with any relevant patches. Also try to control the use removeable media such as USB sticks, as these can sneak malware onto your computer.

Catch those phishers: Phishing emails are a constant threat, so ensure staff know how to identify and avoid them, as well as how to respond if they do get caught out.

Password perfection: They main be a pain, but passwords are one of the best ways of keeping cyber criminals out – so long as you follow a few rules. Always change default passwords, avoid predictable passwords and enable two-factor authentication, where available. On the other hand, you don’t actually need to worry about changing passwords regularly - in fact, you should only change them if you suspect they’ve been compromised.

Getting on top of security is now non-negotiable and your clients and customers, who will expect you to have this locked down. And if you want to proactively demonstrate that you’ve got your security under control, then you might want to consider signing up to the Cyber Essentials Scheme, which will help you gain a certificate to prove it.