September 25, 2017 12:00 am
There have been several reports in the press recently discussing the successful cyber-attacks on high profile companies, including the NHS.
Does this mean that SME’s are at more risk now that well-known brands are being successfully attacked, and if so, how can they defend themselves? Mode wanted to address these concerns by providing tips that will help SME’s stay guarded from the increasing cyber security threat.
Two-thirds of businesses have been victims of cybercrime. However, one in four owners have admitted that they aren’t up to date on cyber security measures.
What are the priorities?
Data is the most valuable asset any business holds. Many of your electronic devices store data, such as laptops, PCs, photocopiers etc. It is rare that hackers can access data directly; typically they look to compromise end points and specific accounts. Therefore, SME’s should invest in some form of protection, such as NGAV (Next Generation Anti-Virus) and multi-factor authentication.
SME’s are often limited in financial resources and security can be costly, however, investing in sufficient anti-virus could ultimately prevent unnecessary financial stress.
Mode’s tips for Cyber Security:
- Review the data that your business holds to identify which assets need extra protection. Look at which 3rd parties can access it and identify whether data is adequately backed up. Consider encrypting any sensitive data or reducing network access to certain users, particularly for remote workers.
- Stay secure with regular IT updates and Anti-Malware updates. Recent research indicated that a third of SME owners aren’t keeping up to date with the latest IT regulations that could leave them vulnerable to attacks. Make sure you have Anti-Virus Software.
- Train staff. Limiting the threat is crucial. A third of employees have access to Facebook and other social media platforms whilst at work, and as half of SME’s do not provide their team with internet and computer guidelines, education is key to limit external threats. Make sure your employees know how to protect their personal information and how to behave on social media so that the company’s information does not end up on social networks.
- Secure your business with good passwords. Elaborate passwords ensure the protection of your data, so invest time into making a pool of passwords that you will alternate each month. The passwords should be kept in your head or only passed to trusted employees.
- Only use secure methods of payment. Do thorough research before establishing partner relations with different payment companies. To keep your business’ financial status secure, you need a reliable company that you can trust. The same goes with credit card information for your customers.
- Create back-ups. Your business can suffer negative consequences, such as a loss of a client database or budget information leakage if information is lost.
- Limit mobility of company computers. Do not allow employees to take computers home. A good idea would be to allow only the reasonable use of mobile devices so that information is not copied to many devices where you cannot keep track.
- Check the level of technical support you have. It isn’t always possible for an SME to have the resource of a dedicated IT Engineer. Outsourcing is the most practical idea to ensure the right controls are in place and that you have a trusted expert to resolve any issues.
- Run regular checks. SME’s must check the effectiveness of their procedures against cyber-attacks and manage any changes in risk levels.
- Have a plan in place. Ensure that, should you be attacked, you are able to limit the disruption to your business.
Mode offers many solutions to protect against cyber-attacks. Contact us today for more information.
This post was written by Anwen Haynes