For a small business, managing effective cybersecurity might seem like a challenge. Antivirus software is expensive. Training costs time as well as money. Just knowing what you need to protect yourself against can be difficult.
But there’s no doubt about it, you need to protect your business from cyber threats.
In today’s digital world, it isn’t a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when” you are going to be attacked. Almost two-thirds of UK companies employing between 10 and 49 people – the equivalent of 130,000 businesses nationwide – fell victim to some form of cyber crime last year.
The average cost of a cyber attack to small businesses is £65,000. This cost comes in the form of damaged assets, financial penalties and business downtime.
What can you do to protect your business?
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “digital native”, trust your gut. If it looks dodgy, it probably is. If it looks too good to be true, it definitely is. Be wary of pop-ups and don’t click on links or enter personal details into them.
Learn how to spot spoofed emails and be on the lookout for them. Be especially cautious of messages that:
Keep web browsers and operating systems up to date. Most updates are rolled out to combat a new cyber attack or patch a recently discovered vulnerability.
Consider using a password management tool to create and secure your logins. If you don’t want to invest in a tool, use strong passwords.
2019’s most common passwords you should NOT use
Many thieves and scammers succeed by exploiting social behaviour such as compassion and politeness. Brazen thieves have been known to simply walk into an office as if they belong there and remove items unchallenged.
If you have the infrastructure to support it, protect your office by implementing a mandatory sign-in and name badge policy for visitors
Be vigilant to strangers – a simple “excuse me, can I help you?” can help verify identities, without any risk of causing offence.
Don’t leave valuables in clear view or in unlocked drawers. Close and lock doors and windows before leaving a room empty for any length of time. Clear meeting rooms and wipe whiteboards/flipcharts after use. And remember the big 3:
Don’t take a for-business device with you when travelling unless you are sure you need it. When travelling, keep your device with you at all times. Don’t leave it in a car or hotel room.
Avoid rooting or “jailbreaking” your devices. This can cause them to become vulnerable to attack. You should also be mindful of what you put in your devices.
Do not trust or use any USB devices without first having it checked and given the all-clear by your IT department.
Back up your data, lock your phone, make use of apps such as “Find My iPhone” or “Android Lost” and enable remote access to protect and preserve your information if your phone or tablet is lost or stolen.
Clear all data before exchanging, selling or disposing of your device.
Only download apps from a legitimate app store and only download apps you need. App malware is a rarely considered but serious issue affecting mobile devices. Check reviews and seek advice from people you trust before downloading a new app.
Never use public Wi-Fi or computers when you are handling or working with sensitive information. Use a virtual private network (VPN) if possible and adjust your device’s security settings to limit access.
VPN stands for virtual private network. It extends a private network across a public one enabling users to send and receive data safely.