2018 was a big year for cyber attacks, with nearly half of businesses (43%) and a fifth of charities (19%) in the UK experiencing a cyber breach. As if those figures weren’t concerning enough, fewer than a third of businesses (27%) and less than a quarter of charities (21%) have formal cyber security policies in place, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Here’s how to make sure your company’s cyber security procedures are all up to scratch…
How to ensure your business cyber security is up to scratch
1. Know the risks
As a small business owner, you might assume that hackers will have no interest in accessing your data. Or you might think that you’re not in any danger of a data breach simply because you don’t do business online or you don’t store any data digitally.
If so, it’s time to think again – not only are the majority of cyber attacks random and automated, meaning criminals will hack any business, regardless of size, but simply losing your smartphone could see you on the end of a security breach if that smartphone has any client or employee details stored in its address book.
2. Make sure your passwords are secure
If you have the same password for a number of applications, or you use standard, eight-character alphanumeric passwords, it’s time for a security overhaul. Try to use a strong mix of numbers, letters and special characters in all your passwords, preferably in an order that doesn’t resemble a real word, and never keep a note of them near your devices. In fact, never keep a note of them at all – if you can’t remember your passwords, it might be worth using an app like LastPass.
3. Be careful what you click
Never open an attachment in an email unless you’re absolutely sure that what you’re clicking on is safe. Hackers will hide all manner of nasty viruses in attachments, and will make the emails look very official and will often urge you to take urgent action. Before you click on anything, check the sender’s address is legitimate – hackers will often disguise their real address by using an official looking mailing list. click on the address to find out where the email has really come from – and also check for any spelling mistakes, hackers have never been too hot on spelling and grammar. And before clicking a link within an email, hover your mouse over it and check the bottom left corner of your browser, the real address will be shown there.
4. Always back up
Back up your data at least every day (more often, if possible) and make sure all of your anti-virus software is up to date, along with any browser software and operating systems.
5. Check your accounts
Make sure you know what’s coming in and going out of your accounts- if you notice any suspicious activity or spot something you don’t recognise, then your systems may have been compromised.
6. Pick up the phone
Instead of constantly firing off emails, why not pick up the phone and speak to clients and colleagues? Not only does this save the time consuming to-and-fro of emailing, and if you need to speak with a number of people at once, a conference call is much more effective than the CC button.