Don’t make things easy for cybercriminals

Ross MacKenzie

If you think your business is somehow immune from hackers or cybercriminals you need to think again. Not a day goes past without a big organisation exposed in the news for suffering from a data breach. You could also be mistaken for thinking this is something that only affects larger businesses. But you’d be wrong - it can affect any business – even yours!

According to figures from Hiscox Insurance, around a third of UK small businesses are successfully hacked every year, equal to 4,500 successful hacks per day.

Hackers are always looking for an ‘in’, so your job as a business owner is to make it as difficult as possible for them to access your networks. As with securing the home with locks, alarms and security cameras, securing the business is all about making it an unattractive target to criminals.

So, let’s now look at five simple ways you can protect your business from hackers.

1 – Update your operating systems and software

The big software firms are always updating their software. While some of these updates will be to provide additional features, many will have patches for security bugs. There is no excuse for not making sure that your software is up to date. A patched system will help protect your vital data and prevent hackers from taking advantage of weaknesses in software.

Using Windows 10 and Office 365 will help, with automatic updates, and eliminating the need to manually visit every machine in the business.

2 – Limit access to important data

Data is the lifeblood of most businesses, so it’s important to protect this data. Restricting sensitive information to as few people as possible minimises the risk of this data being exposed to malicious hacking attacks.

To get an idea of who can access what, carry out an audit of your employees’ access rights and amend accordingly.

3 - Protect your information by backing it up

Compliance and statutory regulations, such as the GDPR, mean that you’re required by law to protect the data you hold about customers, staff, and trading partners.

From a security point of view, protecting data is vital. The more data your business has about individuals, the more likely it will be targeted by hackers.

Your data is the cornerstone of your business, to protect it, you must regularly back up data in case it becomes lost or stolen. Backing up to the cloud means that you can schedule regular backups and get to important data quickly, saving time and money.

4 – Make sure your devices have proper security software installed and configured

Make time to look at all the software your business uses. Then ensure that the appropriate security settings are configured to prevent attacks or sensitive data leaving the company.

When choosing new software, it’s important to verify that it meets the needs of your business without increasing risk.

5 – Ensure your staff know about security

These days, no business owner can ignore cybersecurity, and neither can your employees. People can accidently or otherwise put your business at risk if they don’t know the dangers out there on the internet.

It’s essential to not only ensure that employees are aware of the dangers, but also to know how they can help protect the business. This can involve ensuring that they understand what a phishing scam email looks like and are using more complex passwords, as well as other security measures - such as how to recognise suspicious activity online. Education is vital to reduce exposure to cybercriminals. 

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