How Can I Protect My Business From Cyber Attack?

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Cybersecurity is a common concern for businesses across the globe. Attacks on company systems can cause severe disruptions to everyday processes, delay delivery of services, put sensitive data (both employees’ and clients’) at risk, and ultimately damage the target enterprise’s reputation. In some instances they have even forced businesses to close due to the costs of such an attack. Have you been wondering "how can I protect my business from cyber attack"? Read on for some tips.


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Between September 2016 - 17, more than 4.7 million cases of ‘computer misuse’ and fraud were reported in the UK alone. Though this actually demonstrated a 15% decline from the same period the year previous, a staggering number of businesses remain vulnerable to cyber-criminals.

Every business must protect itself and its customers against potentially-devastating cyber attack, but what precautions should you take? 

Create Strong Passwords

Let’s start with the most obvious tip.

Strong passwords are fundamental to good cybersecurity, no matter how big or small your business.

How can you establish tough passwords? Here are some key things to bear in mind:

  • Combine lower-case, upper-case letters, symbols and numbers
  • Avoid using any birthdays as passwords
  • Never just type in letters or numbers positioned together on your keyboard
  • Don’t spell common or obvious, easy-to-guess words backwards

You should aim to change passwords at least every three months, though you can do so as often as you like. Your employees should all have unique passwords, not a shared one. It's a good idea to set up automatic reminders to go out to employees to update their passwords regularly. 

Invest in a Powerful Firewall

A firewall guards your network against threats by controlling all internet traffic coming into and out of your company’s system. A good, high-performance firewall is absolutely essential for your business — don’t try to just ‘make do’ without one because of their often-expensive costs.

Investing in proper security can help prevent the significant financial challenges cyber-attacks cause, so if you don’t have a solid firewall in place right now, change that as soon as possible.

Many different options are available, but be sure to do your research before choosing one. You’ll find plenty of in-depth reviews online.

Back up Your Data

Data privacy and security is a priority. If your business is targeted by cyber-criminals, you may lose crucial data. This would leave your enterprise struggling to perform as usual and can cause severe setbacks. You don’t want to have to essentially rebuild your entire database or gather key information from clients again. You’ll appear unprofessional and they may wonder how safe their details are in your hands, especially if your competitors utilize stronger security processes.

Back up all key data (such as business plans, financial records, customer details etc.) on a regular basis. The more often you do this, the less damage a hacker may be able to do.

Backing data up is simpler than you may expect, and you should be relying on hard drives and cloud storage alike. Try to back up your servers at the end of each week, and don’t leave back-up drives connected to your network when they’re not in use (as they may be affected too).

Monitor Computer Systems Usage

You trust your employees. You want them to feel valued, respected and reliable.

However, it’s vital to keep records of all computers and software your employees use just to be on the safe side. Make sure company laptops and tablets are locked away until needed.

Encourage workers to avoid using their own personal USB sticks or software on your computers, as they could unintentionally compromise your entire network if there’s an unknown virus or malware lurking inside.

Employee monitoring tools are available to keep track of who does what during working hours, though you should make everyone aware if such precautions are in place.

Perform Regular Program Updates

Investing in security software is a smart move, but you must keep updating it to maximize its effectiveness.

Keep checking security applications for any updates available, and install them as soon as possible. Important changes may have been made, increasing their capabilities to identify and combat threats, and you could be leaving your business more vulnerable than it has to be without updating. 

Consult with Security Specialists

Security experts will be able to assess your business’s cybersecurity measures, identify gaps in your protection, make valuable recommendations and help you stay defended against the latest threats.

Start working with a cybersecurity specialist on a regular basis, and have them perform frequent checks on your system. Their expertise will be an invaluable asset to your company’s safety and make sure you have effective measures in place to repel attacks.

Consider checking with other trusted businesses in your area or sector, to gather recommendations. While this is extra expense, it’s well worth the investment and minimizes your risk of costly workflow disruptions. 

Educate Your Employees to be Vigilant

Last but by no means last: educate your staff to be safe and vigilant online.

Your workers can make a big difference in keeping your business secure. It only takes one of them to download a dangerous app or open an infected email to disrupt your system.

It’s vital that employees recognize their responsibilities to the company when using your equipment and software. We all know it’s easy to lose concentration and make mistakes, but everyone should be aware of the potential risks.

Train staff on creating reliable passwords, checking suspicious emails before downloading any attachments or clicking on links, taking care when installing tools / apps, and everything else they have to know. 

Conclusion

Follow these tips to protect your business against cyber attack. Taking all of the recommended steps can be difficult if you’re on a tight budget or launching a small startup, but it’s vital to be as well-prepared as possible. As cyber-criminals employ increasingly-sophisticated tactics to disrupt companies of all sizes, a good defence has never been more important.

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