Five ways to protect your consultancy firm and your clients

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UK SMEs are cyber-attacked around 7 million times a year, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

While the ongoing cyber threat to UK businesses increases in diversity and severity, unprotected SMEs attempting to recover from an attack can find themselves in a devastating situation.

Global cyber-attacks are now said to be more profitable than the global drugs trade (around $435 billion).  In May, WannaCry, a global ransomeware attack, took hold and resulted in over 200,000 victims and 300,000 infected computers. The attack encrypted data and a ransom was demanded resulting in company and client data being stolen. Such attacks can be lethal to consultancy firms and their clients whose private details can potentially become exposed.

Lyndon R. Wood, CEO, ConstructaQuote.com, said: “A cyber-crime incident costs a small business victim nearly £3,000, taking more than two days to recover, according to the FSB. It is imperative that small companies protect themselves (and their clients) from the offset or they could find themselves in very hot water due to not being adequately prepared for an attack.”

Although cyber security risks are high, many businesses are unaware of the risks and only a surprisingly low number of businesses have taken extra precautionary methods to protect their technology and data. Many businesses act naïvely and assume that cyber hacking only happens to large high-profile companies with a high-revenue and millions of user data. However, even the smallest business can be at risk of cyber hacking.

Five Ways to Protect Your Consultancy Business: 

  1. Leadership comes from the top. Managers need to showcase compelling evidence to help make a case for increasing cyber security to ensure financial input.
  1. Employees are arguably the biggest cyber threat. Employees need to be trained on how to spot suspicious emails and taught how to identify fake invoices. Do they know how to safely store and manage data?
  1. Training can never be underestimated because the cost of training and thwarting attacks before it happens will be vastly less than the cost of dealing with an incident.
  1. Whether you’re a freelance consultant, a new start-up, or you’re running a growing SME, cyber insurance policies come with different levels of cover and different price options. Cyber liability insurance comes at a low premium in comparison to the potentially detrimental repercussions of a data breach. Having cyber insurance in place can help a company recover more quickly. Cyber insurance will ensure related costs such as damaged/stolen hardware and data corruption right down to PR expenses, legal and investigation costs are met.
  1. Clear company rules and processes need to be put in place – especially when it comes to the use of data handling and data control. By implementing rules on how data is recorded, tracked and subsequently documented, businesses can identify potential breaches and rectify them.