If you’ve got a nagging sense that your business should be doing more to protect itself against cybercrime you’re probably right. But knowing where to start is difficult. For the last five years, Beaming has run a cybercrime study to understand the evolving threat landscape and what it means for all business leaders.
Unfortunately, the businesses who are most vulnerable are also the ones with the least resources to help. Nearly two-thirds of small businesses now fall, victim, every year, a huge increase in 25% in 2015. Fortunately, there are affordable ways to build resilience and keep pace with the changes in cybercrime. Here are 5 ways you can start improving your cybersecurity today By Sonia Blizzard, Beaming‘s managing director.
An update is required
Before investing in further cybersecurity, you need to make sure that what you have is doing the job.
Check that all anti-virus software is installed and updated automatically on every device used to access company systems. As the majority of staff are still working from home, insist that employees do the same on their personal devices and check they aren’t sharing work devices with the rest of the household.
You should also secure your internet router. Speak to your Internet Service Provider to ensure you’re using the latest firmware and change default usernames and passwords.
Write strong passwords
Speaking of passwords, there are a few simple ways to make sure yours are protecting you and keeping your data secure. Create passwords of three random words and a mixture of characters, make them different from each other and draw a hard line between work and personal accounts.
This advice has been shared a million times but it’s more important than ever due to the rise of phishing attacks – when a hacker uses social data to crack your password. Over the last five years, phishing has grown to be the number one threat to small businesses, where data is obtained through deception whether in the form of email, websites or over the phone. By keeping passwords random and different, you at least prevent hackers using your public information to access your private information.
Encourage employees to do the same and don’t allow password sharing. For any online services your business uses, you can use two-factor authentication – which requires a second piece of evidence to gain unlock access.
Don’t pay the price for losing your data
Another cybercrime tactic on the rise is Ransomware, a form of malware that blocks access to data on a victim’s computer, often by encryption, and demands payment in return for providing access to it again. The problem is, even if you pay there’s no guarantee you’ll ever get the data back.
A better solution is to keep multiple backup copies of your most precious data offsite. Around a fifth of SMEs copy data manually to an external hard drive that is then removed from the premises each evening. This is a fine solution to ransomware, but still creates the risk of those physical storage devices being lost or stolen, or even just breaking, while out of the office.
More business leaders are using remote data centres, like those offered by Beaming, as a reliable cloud storage solution that offers complete transparency and puts you in control of the data, whilst also offering the reassurance of being managed by security experts.
Work safely in the cloud
It is likely many businesses are using the cloud for more than data backup, more than two thirds (71%) of UK businesses rely on some form of cloud computing or cloud storage to remain operational, so an understanding of how to stay safe as you migrate to the cloud is critical.
One of the best places to invest first is in a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which encrypts internet traffic and makes the flow of data from your device to the cloud more secure.
Be the driver of change
Ultimately, though no amount of tools will help without a strong commitment and culture of being more cyber secure. Only 9% of businesses surveyed last year had a documented cybersecurity policy. It’s up to business leaders to make sure all their employees are managing passwords, keeping data secure and putting cybersecurity tools to work.