We all recognise how important it is to stay safe online and protect your privacy and your information. But it’s just as important to protect your business. Regardless of the size of your company, if you store information of any kind then your business is a target for a cyber-attack.
Whether you store internal information or information concerning you customers, it’s your responsibility to do everything you can to defend and protect it. Customers need to feel that their information is safe, and they’re placing their trust in your business to ensure this. A breach resulting in a loss of customer trust could be devastating. Many small to medium size business owners feel that they’re not a target for a cyber-attack simply because they’re not big enough. But the truth is, 66% of small businesses have been a victim of cyber-crime in the last 2 years. In short, precautions need to be put in place by every business to protect against cyber-crime.
There are a variety of steps you can take to increase your protection from an external online threat.
- Train Your Staff
Training staff on their duties, how your business works, staff protocols and so on is important. But you should also include some basic internet safety training too. For example, teach your staff to generate strong and secure passwords and not store them on their computer. Although it may sound obvious, through no fault of their own an internal member of staff might inadvertently open the doors to a cyber-attack. This also goes for any business-sensitive data that may be used by employees offsite. Encryption and data handling processes must be implemented to prevent any problems from occurring.
- Be Internet Savvy
The most common types of crime that affect small businesses are phishing emails (49%), spear phishing emails (which come across as personal, commonly addressing you by your first name, as if the sender knows you) at 37% and malware attacks (29%). It’s important to be aware of baited traps. Usually, if something is marked as urgent, or is unexpected to you, then it’s wise to be cautious. Cyber-criminals are looking to grab your attention and entice you in. Be one step ahead of them and don’t fall for it.
- Internal Security
Having a firewall, computer securing software and antivirus software should be standard on all business computers and/or laptops. On top of this, regular updates need to be made to ensure that your defence methods are as strong as they can be.
- Use Cloud Security
It’s common for many people to feel nervous about storing data on the cloud. It feels like, because it’s out of your direct control, it’s somehow less safe. However, this is a misconception. There are many benefits to using cloud security including its ability to secure, encrypt and archive email, filter internet access and it prevent any malware from being downloaded onto an end device.
- Have A Plan
Only 4% of small to medium sized businesses have a written plan of what to do if they suffer an online attack. Although it’s an unpleasant thought, if disaster does strike then you’ll need to act fast to limit the damage caused. A written and agreed plan that’s understood by all employees will save precious time.
The main thing to remember is that cyber-crime is a genuine threat which should be taken seriously, but there are measures you can take to stay in control online. Your customers need to feel like your business can protect their property and their privacy. As a business, it’s important that you take the right steps to maintain online safety as a priority. For further prevention tips, look here and build up your online defence. Take action to keep your business safe because cyber-attacks can happen to any business of any size.