Keeping your Business Safe

IT security threats are growing every day, in 2017 and so far in 2018 “54% of companies experienced one or more successful attacks that compromised data and/or the IT infrastructure” (Source: The Ponemon Institute) If you run your own business, you can’t stick your head in the sand or wait for someone else to address the issue, you must take action and make sure you have the correct systems in place. If you are a cybercrime novice, this article will give you a basic overview of all the risks you need to try to avoid and the solutions that can help

What are the main Cyber Threats?

Small businesses need to address several vulnerabilities to avoid exploitation by hackers, probably the biggest risk is phishing. This type of scam can take many forms, from doctored emails designed to trick unwitting employees to fake sites that are littered with damaging code. People are most likely to click through when a phishing campaign involves financial motivation, but there are many potential strategies that con artists can deploy, so it pays to make sure that staff are properly trained so they know what to look out for. Small businesses also need to familiarise themselves with other types of cyber threats, including identity theft, denial of service (DoS) attacks and viruses. It is not necessary to tackle all of this in-house, but it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of the latest types of cyber-attack to know what to look out for and avoid being caught out.

Is Cyber Security Essential?

In a word, yes, because failing to have the correct protection in place will put your business at risk, and there could be disastrous repercussions. In the immediate aftermath of a breach, your reputation will suffer, and customers will find it hard to trust you in the future. While larger organisations might be able to weather this storm, the majority of small firms that are successfully attacked will end up going out of business. As key clients jump ship, your business will enter dire straits financially, which lessens the likelihood of recovery even further. There are also the legal ramifications to consider, not just action taken by impacted customers, but also from the regulatory scrutiny which will be brought to bear on your business. GDPR compliance requires an understanding of cyber security issues, as well as a fresh approach to how customer data is collected and used. Transparency is essential and small businesses that fail to protect their data will be exposed to serious difficulties if they are hacked.

Who Should Be Security-Savvy?

In a small business, just as in a large one, there is a need for an understanding of, and appreciation for, cyber security at all levels within the business. From chief execs to office administrators, there is no excuse for ignorance on central issues. Proper planning and persistent training can make this easier to achieve, so the sooner you get started and the more holistic your cyber security strategy, the better.

What Elements of the IT Infrastructure Should be Considered?

If your networking setup and in-house hardware resources have been gradually accumulated over time, there is a high likelihood of fragmentation existing, which can create weak points which hackers will be able to exploit. By streamlining your systems and removing any unnecessary elements of hardware or software, you can minimize the chances of a vulnerability being exploited. Deploying a firewall to stop outsiders from accessing your networks and devices is a good starting point but you should also think about checking wireless access points, keeping apps up to date and ensuring that you have every angle covered to get peace of mind.

How is Data Impacted in a Cyber Security Context?

Data storage can be costly, complicated and difficult to protect, so it’s worth considering outsourcing this element of your infrastructure to the cloud, or at least relying upon a third-party provider to back up important information. Cloud-powered software apps can also be valuable, so long as they are adequately secure and resilient to attacks and outages. If this sounds confusing it might be worth seeking the advice of a professional, IT company who can help you establish secure systems. The data you collect from customers is now subject to the rules of the GDPR, so you need to know what kinds of information you are holding and whether it is securely protected. Encryption can help, especially in terms of cloud storage, but the best data scrambling processes in the world will be useless if you do not also make sure that employees use secure passwords that cannot be broken. Training staff to use data safely, whether they are in the office or working remotely, is similarly important. It is a popular belief that the biggest cyber security threat to a business is its staff.  Internal threats to cyber security are amongst the most prominent that a small business will face, so stay alert, maintain vigilance and keep up with emerging threats from every avenue to provide complete protection.  

Cyber Security for Small Businesses

What should I do now?

If you need any help to check the security of your systems, Genesis Business Systems can conduct penetration testing which will check for external vulnerabilities including those which may allow hackers to hold you to ransom. We can also help you train your staff, we can tailor IT security training sessions to meet your requirements. We’d be happy to discuss any IT security concerns you may have, if you would like any more information don’t hesitate to get in touch and find out how we can help you secure your business systems. Call 014821 210999 or email info@genesisit.co.uk