We are all aware cybercrime against businesses is becoming increasingly popular. Throughout the past week we’ve witnessed cyber attacks on the UKs National Health Service and many other high profile companies. The WannaCrypt hack took many businesses across the globe by surprise and halted the daily operations of a large proportion of those organisation.
Businesses are losing thousands of pounds every day, but worryingly, losing large quantities of critical data. Losing the data that makes up your business can be more damaging than losing money. With your sensitive business information in the hands of a criminal, not only are you at risk of losing your business, your customers are put in potential danger too.
Next year, May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, which means if an attack like this were to happen next year, businesses who haven’t taken the correct precautions to protect their data would be liable. The new law will require businesses to be transparent about the ways in which they share, store, discard and transfer their data - failure to comply will result in large fines.
To help prevent your business becoming the latest victim of cybercrime we’ve created a list of simple steps you can take to ensure the safety of your most valued information as well as protecting your clients. Now is the time to start putting measures into place to ensure you’re compliant by next year. And as we’ve seen in recent events, no business is entirely safe when online but with the right tools you can identify a potential threat before it escalates.
Continue reading to find out how you can help protect your business when online…
1. Create secure passwords
The majority of passwords are not secure. You may think they are, and you may be under the impression that no one is able to retrieve your personal data, but all it takes is for a cybercriminal to look at your social profile and the chances are all the information is on there somewhere.
When you’re choosing a password, try to avoid using family names and dates of birth. For example, if your partner is called John and his birthday is 1st Jan
1980 you might be tempted to have your password as John010180. Now if you’ve posted a "happy 37th
birthday" message on John’s wall and a cybercriminal is on your profile, they’ve got your password, and you probably use the same password for multiple accounts.
Try making your passwords 8 – 12 characters long, and use a range of upper and lower case letter, numbers and symbols. By using this you could transform your old password to something like this j0Hno1j4N8o – it’s still easy to remember but it’s a little less obvious.
2. Create IT policies
IT policies are a great way to re-enforce existing rules with your employees. As Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is becoming more popular within the work place, it is getting increasingly difficult to control who is accessing what areas of your business and from which device. With IT policies that employees sign to say they have read and understood, you’re able to set out clear, concise rules and guidelines. For example, using a Mobile Device Management application as standard practise is a great way to ensure your critical business information is protected. The application works by enforcing rules. These rules can be restrictions to certain areas of the business portal, or disabling the use of commands such as cut, copy, paste, forward and save. By doing this you’re adding an extra layer of security to your business making sure you’re protected at all times.
3. Educate your staff
Educating your staff is a great way of protecting your business from cybercriminals. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot but it will help save money in the long run. By teaching your staff the importance of staying safe online you can avoid a security breach to your company. Microsoft estimates that 95% of security breaches are down to human error. With staff properly educated and aware of what to look for – suspicious emails, attachments and links, you’re adding an additional layer of security to your business.
4. Update software
You should always be working from the latest version of your software. For example if your anti-virus software isn’t up-to-date, chances are that it’s not working properly and leaving your business open to attack. The updates that are released for your anti-virus is designed to fix any problems or bugs and ensure that your systems are protected against the latest versions of malware and viruses.
Your software settings can easily be changed to automatic updates, you don’t have to remember to update your software and eliminate the risk of forgetting and leaving your data open to cybercriminals, and you can also update at a time that is least disruptive to your working day.
Ensuring your company is as well protected as possible helps reduce the risk of damage to your business and if the worst were to happen, your contingency plans can be put into action so you can recover as much of your data as you can and keep your business running.
If you would like to know more about protecting your business, contact us now or give us a call on 01625 837800.