In fact, according to a recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of cyber-attack victims were small businesses (organisations with fewer than 250 employees). In 2020, the UK Government Cyber Security Breaches survey reported that 46% of UK businesses had been victims of cyber security breaches or attacks in 2019.
If your business is at risk, you could have data, money, employee or customer information stolen. A cyberattack can have extremely costly and damaging effects on businesses, as you can lose customers, finances and your reputation.
To help protect yourself against future cyber-attacks, we’ve put together some top tips on how to improve your business IT security.
1. Strong password management
Weak passwords are one of the major weaknesses for businesses when it comes to cyber-attacks. You and your employees should be using strong passwords, containing numbers, upper and lower case letters and symbols. Passwords should also not be duplicated across different accounts. One of the best ways to keep up to date with passwords is to use a password manager.
2. Multi-factor authentication
Another way to keep your password management strong is to implement multi-factor authentication. This is usually a two-step process that adds an extra layer to your security. Employees will be able to log in by having a code sent to a mobile device to complete the sign-in process.
3. Install updates regularly
One of the easiest steps to take to help protect your business against cyberattacks is to update all of your systems, programs, apps and devices regularly. You can easily check what needs to be updated in the software centre and your device will usually prompt you if it needs to update. Using older software or systems leaves you vulnerable to attacks as this is something hackers look for to infiltrate businesses.
4. Backup your data
With cyberattacks on the rise, it’s essential that your business prepares for a data breach by having everything backed up. By having data backed up, you can help your business recover more quickly from a breach and help maintain your customer base. The best way to do this is to save everything either onto a hard drive or on the cloud, both should be secured with encryption and passwords.
5. Install and update anti-virus software
Your business must have strong and up-to-date anti-virus software installed to stay safe from cyberattacks. There are also a number of anti-virus tools and malware tools which can help reduce the number of phishing emails that get sent to your employee’s inboxes. There is a wide range of options when it comes to anti-virus and anti-malware tools, but it’s important to install one that has good reviews and works!
6. Update devices
Alongside updating your software, programmes and browsers, businesses should also ensure they keep their devices up to date, including desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets. If possible, try to update your infrastructure and devices every 2-3 years to keep up to date with the latest technologies.
7. Dispose of old devices safely
If you are looking to update your hardware, you need to make sure you dispose of the old kit correctly. You will need to remove and destroy old storage devices, USBs, CDs, DVDs, etc. This can be carried out by a security firm.
8. Train and educate your staff
As cyber threats become more common, it’s important to ensure that your staff are educated on the risks. Cybersecurity should be a foundation on which you build your company’s protocols and practices. If your staff are aware of what phishing attacks look like, they are more likely to spot one and therefore prevent an attack. Businesses can start data security training for staff, constantly update procedures and make sure the company is up-to-date with any new threats by sending out regular messages and tips.
9. Review procedures and policies
Once you have educated your staff, it’s important to review and update all of your company procedures and policies to help keep your business safe. You may want to employ a security officer whose job is to monitor and oversee the security measures within your business. By having strong security policies and procedures that are enforced effectively, your business has more chance of surviving an attack.
10. Limit access
One of the key processes to review is the type of access your employees have to company accounts, systems and devices. Even if you completely trust your staff, your businesses should make sure that they only have access to information that they need to complete their job and nothing more. Employees of different ranks may have more or less access than each other, and employees should never share information about their personal accounts.
11. Vet your employees
Where possible, it may be a good idea to try to vet any new employees to check for previous criminal convictions. You should also research any tech vendors and service providers to see how they look after your data.
12. Keep Wi-Fi secure
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is encrypted and secure so only your employees can access it. Wi-Fi is a common access point for hackers, so you must take the necessary precautions. The best form of practice is to set up a Wi-Fi password that your employees can’t access. If you need customers to have access to Wi-Fi, create a separate network for them, and keep the company network private.
13. Stay up to date
The digital world is always advancing, and so are cybersecurity threats, that’s why it’s important to try to keep up with new and emerging threats so you can future proof your business. Cybercriminals can make a lot of money from successful threats, so they are constantly changing and adapting their methods.
14. Have a recovery plan
Even if you implement all of these top tips, you may still be victim to an attempted attack, so it’s important to always be prepared. Plan how your business would deal with a breach and test it. Set up alerts that let you know if anything suspicious happens and be vigilant.
Need IT support?
At E2E Technologies, we can help with managed firewalls, new infrastructure, secure networking and cyber security solutions. Get in touch with our team today to find out more.