With most businesses these days having an online presence, or using online services to fulfill many functions, it has meant that incidences of cyber crime have soared in recent years. Not only is cyber crime disruptive to any business, but it’s estimated that small businesses alone are losing up to £800 million annually from such attacks. Fortunately, there are lots of measures any business can take to reduce their cyber risk. Here are ten tips worth implementing.
#1 – Keep on top of updates
One of the easiest but most important strategies you should take is to ensure all your anti-virus, anti-spam and firewalls are all regularly updated. Make sure you update the security on all your software, including mobile technology, regularly, as well. If you ensure you are fully protected, then it makes it harder for hackers, spam-bots and viruses to enter your systems.
#2 – Passwords
Password protection is vital against cyber threats, so always choose passwords that would be difficult to guess. Always use passwords for your wireless network. Change passwords regularly, especially if any staff leave their job.
#3 – Back ups
Make sure you regularly back up all of your data, so that you reduce your risk of losing anything should a cyber attack take place.
#4 – Staff guidelines
Implement stringent guidelines to give to your staff with regards to how they use data and the internet or mobile devices. Hold training sessions with your staff on a regular basis to educate them about reducing security threats. Have an open door policy, so that if any staff members think that fraudulent activity is taking place by other staff, they can discuss it in confidence with you.
#5 – Security checks
When you’re hiring new staff, especially those working on a temporary or casual basis, undertake basic background checks and get references to check they have not been associated with any previous fraudulent behavior. This is particularly important if these staff will be dealing with any financial aspects or sensitive data.
#6 – Dedicated computer
If resources allow, it can be beneficial to dedicate one computer for all of your financial transactions only, which will make it less vulnerable to attacks than if you shared one for use with other internet activities such as social media.
#7 – Cyber policy
If you take the prospect of a cyber attack seriously and put measures into place of how you would deal with one, if it occurred, then knowing how to handle it will help reduce the impact if it did happen. Review your cyber policy regularly and test the effectiveness of your disaster recovery plans.
#8 – Separate banking
Don’t keep all of your finances in one account, and always have a separate account and credit cards for personal banking and business. Avoid giving your card details to other members of staff.
#9 – Cloud services
If you use cloud services in your business operations, be extra vigilant and only use a reputable service provider.
#10 – Insurance
Whilst having an insurance policy in place that covers you for cyber crime and fraud won’t necessarily stop it from occurring in the first place, it will help cover any costs or damages incurred if it does happen. Always check your policy cover and keep it updated.
If we have overlooked any important tips, when why not add them by commenting below! We welcome your feedback and views, so please take part in the conversation.