How to protect your small business from cyber attacks
This month, Cyber Aware are running an awareness campaign - here's some key takeaways
At XLN we have to handle sensitive data for our phone, broadband, card payments and energy customers.
That means it’s vital that we - and all our small business customers - stay up do date with the latest guidelines, and do everything we can to make sure our data stays secure.
This month we’re partnering with the Government Cyber Aware #LifeUpdates campaign - encouraging people to install their latest software as soon as it becomes available. These contain security updates that will protect your devices from viruses and hackers.
What are the risks?
Government surveys show a staggering 46% of businesses reported a cyber breach or attack over the last year – almost half of all the businesses in the UK.
The risks of being the victim of a cyber breach range from the inconvenient to the truly disastrous. A hack can lose you customers - both directly because of downtime, but also because of the reputational damage that comes with the admission you’ve been hacked. This can also ward off investors and other business associates, including prospective employees wary of having their own data exposed.
And as for further risks – if your data is stolen, a cyber attack can result in losing essential data, like your sales records. It can open you up to privacy lawsuits if your customer’s data is leaked, and you’ll have to bear the cost (and embarrassment) of notifying every customer whose data has been stolen.
The Two Commandments of Cyber Security
The basic safety precautions don’t take a lot of time or special expertise. Cyber Aware has pointed out that there are two very simple things you can do to drastically improve your cyber security at no cost and with minimal time expenditure.
The first is to create a strong, separate password for your main email account. Your email account can act as a hub for cyber criminals wishing to piece together enough information to hack all your accounts, so it’s extra important to have a strong email password, and not to re-use that password for different sites and applications.
As mentioned, the second is to keep all your software up to date. All the software your business uses is constantly being updated by the developers to guard against emerging cyber threats. By staying up to date, you take advantage of their work to keep your own business secure.
Follow @Cyberaware.gov.uk or visit https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/ for the latest government advice.
Cyber Aware has released a handy Small Business Guide to cyber security which is well worth a read. And keep a look out for our own small business cyber security updates, which we’ll be releasing in the coming months.