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Five ways to protect your business from cyber-crime

Cyberattacks. We’re all hearing about them; we read about them daily and many of us have experienced them in one way or another.

Every day, they become a starker reality for all businesses and organizations – no matter the industry or size. And, unfortunately for most, companies won’t realise that they’ve been hacked until it’s too late.

With that said, 77% of small and medium-sized businesses still believe that they’re safe from hackers, viruses and malware. And 83% of SMBs take no formal measures against cyber threats — even though almost half of all attacks will be aimed at them.

In fact, many people don’t even use a secure password and still, the two most common computer passwords today are “password” and “123456”.

Protecting your systems, data and hardware may cost a small amount of time and money. But the consequences of a cyberattack can be far more expensive and UK businesses reported over £1bn in losses from cybercrime last year.  While some businesses are lucky enough to recoup some of the money, most businesses aren’t so lucky.

Why? Because the onus is on them and their team to protect themselves from any cyber threat.

As data breaches continue to surface and cybersecurity incidents grow exponentially in frequency, size, and cost, going at it alone is no longer an effective option. Being prepared requires a collective accountability – an understanding that all affected entities must prioritise cybersecurity so that together, we can create a safer environment.

Ultimately, Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.

Don’t take the risk of remaining vulnerable. Here are five steps you can take to shield your business from cyberattack.

  1. Shore up weak points.

Passwords are the best place to start. Make sure you and your employees change them regularly, and don’t use the same password for all your accounts. Enforce password policies with rules for complexity and frequent changes. A good standard is to change your passwords every two months.

Firewalls are another must-have for small businesses, especially if customer data and other sensitive information are linked to the Internet. Find out more about Fortigate firewall security.

  1. Designate a banking-only computer.

Fraud is the biggest risk for small businesses. The 2011 Business Banking Trust Study showed that 56% of businesses experienced payment fraud, or an attempt at fraud, in the 12 months preceding April 2011; 75% experienced account takeover and fraud online.

One easy way to fight fraud is to use a dedicated computer for all online financial transactions. Because this machine is not used for email, web-surfing or social media, it’s much harder for outsiders to gain access to your sensitive information. Also make sure to review your banking transactions daily, so you can spot fraud in near real time and possibly recover the funds.

  1. Protect your data.

Small businesses can lose data as well as money in a cyberattack. But until now, most haven’t been able to afford an online data-backup solution. Thanks to cloud computing and other Internet technologies, data-backup services are finally cost-effective.

Storing and sharing personal details, private data and financial particulars in the cloud also results in opportunities for data theft and cyber-crime.

  1. Educate employees.

Employees are your first line of defence against cybercriminals — but they’re also your biggest security hole and negligent employees are the most common cause of data breaches. You can greatly reduce your risk by educating your staff on basic security measures; such as how to recognise potential threats and why it’s important always to take precautions. A security plan without active participation by your employees is like an alarm system that’s never switched on.

  1. Emails

Spam, phishing and junk emails can take up your time and put a strain on your resources. After all, no one wants to spend their time sifting through junk mail just to get to relevant emails, when they could be spending time on more productive tasks.

That’s why it’s so important to have an effective email filtering system in place.

 

What steps have you already put in place to protect your business from cyber-crime? If you have any questions regarding security for your business and would like to ask us, please call us on 020 8819 6848.