Reducing Your Cyber Security Risks In 2018? – 5 Actionable Steps for Small Businesses

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Reducing Your Cyber Security Risks In 2018? – 5 Actionable Steps for Small Businesses

Cyber-Security

2017 was not a great year for cyber security. There were more phishing scams, ransomware, state-sponsored attacks and new attack vectors recorded than ever before. We saw the major cyber attack on the NHS in May, which affected 40 hospitals and 24 NHS Trusts, with A&E departments across the country forced to shut their doors to patients.

We also saw other high profile attacks from the likes of BadRabbit, Spectre etc. “Ransomware” is now a word that is very much in the public consciousness, and the reporting of cyber crime is common place within the press and news networks.

 

Small Businesses Are Under Threat

Despite all this, many business owners, especially those in small and medium-sized businesses, remain unsure of how seriously these cyber concerns affect them. The general opinion in many in small businesses has been that hackers and cyber attacks only affect the big corporates, and that small businesses are not worth the time or effort.

Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Hackers have begun actively targeting small businesses, and the problem is compounded by the fact that many small businesses don’t have the resources to pay for expensive security measures.

The industry figures back this up. According to stats, 24% of small businesses lack any procedures for when a cyber attack occurs, and yet, almost 50% of all UK businesses have identified an attack in the last 12-months. The latest statistics suggest that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses and that 60% of small companies actually go out of business within six months of a cyber attack.

 

Improve Small Business Cyber Security

These figures should be worrying for small business, and the only way to counter the risk of attack is to work on ways of improving cyber security in your small business. There are plenty of affordable, cost effective options when it comes to protecting your business. As well as some actionable steps you can take in your business to reduce the risk.

 

Action 1 – Train Your Employees

The best way to improve your IT security is to train your staff on best practices. Unfortunately, people are usually the weakest link in your security defense – with a single click on an email they can open the door for a hacker.

Your staff need to be able to recognise and avoid cyber threats such as phishing or scams.

Educate them about how to protect sensitive information and make sure they know to remain vigilant at all times.

 

Action 2 – Create Security Policies … AND ENFORCE THEM!

Your security policies need to be updated regularly. If you don’t have any, now is a good time to start down the road of cyber safety. Your Security policies should look at issues like:-

  • Do employees understand the expectations regarding your company data?
  • Do they know what to do and what not to do?
  • Do you have enforceable, written rules on how equipment and data can be used?
  • Do you have a plan in place for reporting security threats?
  • Do your employees know who to contact in the case of a security attack?

Your employees need to read and acknowledge your security policies.

 

Action 3 – Review Your Network

It is worth having an expert review your IT network for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If you’ve never done it before, this year is definitely the time to do it!

You’ll likely find lots of  holes in your security that you never even expected. But as long as you find them before the hackers, you’ll be fine. An IT Health Check from Wood ITC can help you bring your systems right up to date. You’ll get a report with actions you can take right away to keep your business safe.

 

Action 4 – Back Up Your Data

When the ransomware attacks emerged last year, many organisations were caught off guard. Many believed that it was only high-profile businesses that were attacked, but ransomware isn’t a problem that only “bigger companies” face. There are many smaller businesses who have undergone ransomware and cyber attacks in recent times, which is why we recommend backing up your data.

Restoring from a data backup is one of the best ways of recovering from a ransomware attack. A reliable data backup solution is good business practice but will also improve your security and it will improve your ability to recover. If you have an existing backup solution in place, check that it is working and is able to accommodate all your business data needs.

 

Action 5 – Monitor Your Network and Security

If a security breach happens, you need to know about it. One of the best ways to keep your systems safe is to install the right security software and monitor it regularly. The cyber security services and monitoring we deliver at Wood ITC can go a long way to keeping your systems safe and your data out of the hands of criminals and hackers this year.

 

Keep Safe in 2018

Cybersecurity needs to be a top concern for everyone in business this year. It doesn’t matter if you are a big corporate or small organisation, the consequences of a cyber attack are always big.

By following these basics actions and partnering with the right cyber security experts, you can mitigate the risks and remain safe in 2018.

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