7 basic ways to protect your business against cybercrimePublished on 25th January 2017
Each year, UK businesses are estimated to lose around £34bn to cybercrime. According to an HM Government report, 74% of SMEs have reported being a victim of cybercrime, losing an average of £75,000 to £311,000, a rise of 22%. Cybercrime is global, and both SMEs and big corporations need to be vigilant and keep up-to-date with the latest recommendations. Here are seven tips that will help you to protect your business:
- Update computer software: As soon as a software notification pops up, install it. Operating system developers often send out updates for built-in security features, adding patches to wherever a weakness may be present. Not doing this has led to many cases where businesses have been victims of cyber attacks, resulting in the loss of data and/or release of private data among criminal groups.
- Strengthen passwords: Avoid using the same password more than once for any account. Randomise letters and numbers, inserts symbols and capitals. To help with this you can use free password generators. Also develop a policy among employees, change passwords periodically. Don’t save passwords on any machines you use. Yes, it can be a headache, but doing this will help isolate the damage and reach of cyber attacks on your business. If an employee requests a new password, make sure they know to delete the email after they’re done.
- Be mindful of suspicious or unexpected emails: Beware of any emails you feel are suspicious or are in your junk folder. Unless it’s from someone you trust and your security is up to date, do not open any attachments. Such emails are often phishing scams that may include Trojan viruses in disguise.
- Install and regularly update anti-virus software: The tools of cyber-criminals are constantly evolving, with new types of malware emerging all the time. By not keeping up with anti-virus updates and carrying out regular system checks, you can be leaving your business vulnerable to attacks.
- Train and make your staff aware: Educate your staff on the risks of cyber attacks and what they can do to prevent and respond to such scenarios. Most attacks amongst businesses are the result of complacency and a momentary lapse of judgment. Enforce a policy of not reusing passwords or using the same password on multiple accounts for example. Having such a policy in place can help minimize the reach and damage of cyber attacks.
- Log administrator privileges and who has access: Try to avoid using an account with top administrator privileges too often. If an administrator account got hacked, the damage and severity of an attack could be crippling for your business and may incur long-term issues.
- Do not save account and credit card details on servers or your computer: Never save passwords, account details or credit card information on your machine. These are some of the first things hackers will be looking for, depending on their motivation and goals.
If you regularly back up your data to an appropriately-sized external hard drive (HD) you can negate the potential loss of data. With all your data backed up you can safely wipe your device, remove the operating software and begin anew. This can be time consuming and getting a large enough HD can cost a moderate sum, but this will give you peace of mind should your business fall prey to cyber-criminals.
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