Cyber-crime is on the rise and the risk for small businesses is high. Cyber-criminals look for easy targets and with only 54% of small businesses having a formal policy or policies covering cyber security risks in place*, many are leaving themselves exposed to the risk of a cyber-attack.
The results of a cyber attack can be devastating for a small business. Not only can there be financial implications from the recovery of data and repairing systems, networks and devices, but there is also the impact on their brand reputation, client relationships and customer loyalty.
While some small businesses put off making improvements to their cyber-security procedures as they see the cost and lack of resources as a barrier, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a cyber-attack:
1. Install antivirus software on all computers
Malware is one of the biggest threats facing small businesses. The best way to keep your business safe is to use a multi-layered approach to security. Antivirus software provides an extra layer of security when you download something.
2. Train employees on cyber security processes and how to identify phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are a big issue for small businesses. Scammers trick people to download viruses or malware onto devices through a believable email or text containing a link. The most effective form of defence is to educate your employees on the different types of attacks and what to do if they receive a suspicious email or text.
3. Use a firewall for your internet connection
A firewall monitors inbound and outbound traffic in real-time. The firewall blocks any suspicious traffic and can establish a barrier between anything it thinks is trying to attack your computer.
4. Keep software up to date
Where possible, set operating systems, software, and apps to ‘automatically update’. Ensure staff know the importance of installing updates as soon as they are prompted. When software and devices aren’t updated, it leaves your business open to attack.
5. Maintain good password practices
Make sure all office equipment is password protected and use an encryption product. Ensure staff are aware of good password-setting practices. Passwords should be easy to remember but hard to guess.
6. Back up all important data regularly
Identify your essential data – the information your business couldn’t function without. Keep backups separate from your computer and restrict access. Consider using cloud storage. Make backing up part of your everyday business – take regular backups of important data.
7. Limit employee access to secure materials and data
Limit employee access to secure materials to those that require it for their job role. Those who are less trained in handling sensitive matter may be more open to a cyber-attack.
8. Use two-factor authentication
Use two-factor authentication (also known as 2-step verification, 2SV) where you can. It adds a large amount of security for not much effort. 2SV requires two methods to ‘prove’ your identity such as a password and entering a code that is sent to your smartphone.
9. Secure your Wi-Fi networks
It is important to secure your business’s wireless networks in as many ways as you can. First, change the router’s default name and password. Also, encrypt wireless networks to the strongest protocol available.
10. Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
VPNs are a good option for small businesses that can’t afford their own internal network or have employees working from home. VPNs are important for employees to use at home where their cyber security is likely to be weaker.
Only 50% of small businesses are insured against cyber security risks in some way. Cyber Liability insurance can protect your business from the costs of cyber threats or breaches. Contact us today, we can ensure you have the proper cover to protect your business.