How any small business can protect themselves against cyber attacks

There has been plenty in the news of late regarding cyber attacks on big corporate organisations. The most publicised of this has to be the NHS. This particular cyber attack showed that no matter how big an organisation that you are, there is always a chance that you will fall victim to an attack at some point.

This has led to small businesses to become concerned that they are not best protecting not only their business but the data on their customers that they may hold. So, with this in mind, we had a sit down with VectorCloud who are one of Scotland’s leading IT Support companies and put together some of the top approaches that a small business should take when it comes to protecting themselves against a cyber attack.

Choose your password wisely

One of the simplest ways to protect your small business comes in the form of your password. You would be surprised to learn just how many people choose a simple password that is easy to hack. Not only this, but lots of small businesses that have multiple sign in requirements will also use the same, simple, password across all of their log-ins.

If you are concerned that your password is easy to hack, then you really should change it. When it comes to passwords, one rule that you should always adhere to is that you never use a word that is related to you. Choose a word that is entirely random and then use numbers, symbols and uppercase letters throughout that word. This will ensure that your password is difficult to crack.

Lastly, once you have set your password, it is key that you never share it with anyone.

Watch what you open

A common way that hackers will use to breach the security of your system is to send malware via emails that are sent to you directly. They will often contain links or files that once clicked on or opened will quickly corrupt your computer, even spreading throughout a network at times.

The answer to this is to make sure that you are careful with the things that you open, particularly from any sources that you do not know. Whilst the hackers will put time into creating these phishing emails and making sure that they look realistic enough to coax you into opening them. However, there are often little tell-tale signs that all isn’t as it seems. Look out for these and make sure that you pay attention to them.

Always be updated

It can be a pain to have to update your operating systems on a regular basis. However, these systems updates are not only designed to improve the functionality and performance of the system, but also will install the latest in security developments, which are perfect for protecting your business.

Be certified

It has become so commonplace that nowadays we barely recognise that a website has been SSL Certificated. These certifications are a fantastic way to ensure that the data is protected as well as the identity and location of your business.

They are incredibly easy to install onto your server and they will create a chain and a lock that helps to enable secure connections between your web browser and other web browsers. Once you install SSL Certification onto your website the website will change from HTTP to HTTPs and there will also be a padlock shown on the website to reflect how it is now secure to use.

Always consider remote workers

We live in a world now where it has become more and more common for employees to work from home. Whilst this is great for a work/life balance and also improves factors such as employee satisfaction and morale, it isn’t as great for security. It can be hard to manage and maintain the security for staff as they are not within your premises.

Rather than removing this functionality for your staff, it makes more sense to use remote desktop software that is secure and reputable. Software like this should include permanent encryption, something that is used by a large number of online banks, which ensures that they remain protected and secure.

Encourage your staff to be aware how to stay protected

Do you have staff that work with your systems, are they able to access data and private information during their working day? If they do, then it is important that you encourage them to know how to stay protected.

Education is one of the first steps, which means that it pays to share with them how important it is to use secure and complex passwords when setting up their logins for any business system. Also, they should be aware how it is important that they do not open or click on any suspicious files or links that they are sent whilst they are at work.

Writing up an I.T policy and asking your staff members to sign it, is one way that you can encourage them to follow these rules and ensure that your business is protected from any attacks that could occur due to your staff not being aware of how to best protect themselves and the company.

 

As you can see, protecting yourself against a cyber attack doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it is simple a case of changing a few passwords, or ensuring that your operating systems and software is entirely up to date.

Why not try some of these out for yourself? You may be surprised, by not only how easy it can be, but how secure that you can feel when it comes to your business and the data that you hold. After all, if it can happen to the NHS, then there is still a good chance that it can happen to you and that is the last thing that you are going to want when you are trying to run your own business.

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