10 ways to keep your business cyber-safer
With the global cost of cybercrime set to reach $2 trillion by 20191 – three times more than was predicted – there’s no doubt that cybercriminals are enjoying a serious heyday. However, don’t despair. There are steps you can take to help keep your business safe and flourishing. Here are 10 of the most vital ones.
“Cybercrime is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.” This was the stark warning from Ginni Rometty, the CEO and president of IBM2. And yes, the statistics1 do make for sober reading.
• The global cost of cybercrime will hit $2 trillion by 2019, three times more than the $500 billion that experts predicted in 20151
• Countries worldwide spend over $80 billion a year combatting cybercrime1
• The cost of trade-secret theft is between $749 billion and $2.2 trillion a year1
• 50% of small to medium-sized business reported an attack in 12 months1
• For these SMEs, the average cost of a data breach involving theft of assets was $879,582, and they spent another $955,429 getting back to normal business in the aftermath of the attack1
These figures are enough to make any business owner feel nervous – and they should. These are serious threats. However, it’s worth noting another standout statistic here: 60% of employees at the SMEs who were attacked were using the same password across all the programs and platforms they accessed1.
This means that although no business is completely immune from criminals, many online attacks can be prevented through knowledge and best security practices.
60% of employees at the SMEs attacked were using the same password across all programs and platforms1.
What exactly is cybercrime and who’s committing it?
50% of SMEs have reported a cyber attack in the last year
Cybercrimes, like those that commit them, take a number of forms. It could be a remote attack on your computer or mobile device with a virus; hacking into sensitive company or employee information; or financial fraud through access of bank accounts.
Big or small, these attacks are seriously damaging to the firm in the firing line. Costs range from actual money stolen through fixing disrupted systems to paying fines for personal data lost or stolen. And for small to medium-sized businesses, these costs can be particularly harmful.
How to make your business as safe as possible1. Have a malware battle plan
Malware, or malicious software, is designed to infiltrate and/or damage your computer devices and systems. In order to combat it, you need to install the latest anti-virus and security software. A good package should encompass everything from risky websites to spam email and hacker attacks.2. Make sure your network is secure
Firewalls, anti-virus software and careful monitoring helps to ward off attacks
Make good use of firewalls, proxies and access control lists. This is the first line of defence against an attack, and it’s vital. Employ IT experts who really know what they’re doing.3. Ensure a secure configuration
Keep an up-to-date inventory of all your IT hardware and software and identify a secure standard configuration for all current and future equipment. Don’t forget to change any default passwords.4. Manage and monitor use of all equipment and IT systems
Make sure all valuable data is well protected
Keep an eye on who’s able to see and use your systems, equipment and information, keeping access to a minimum. Make sure items are actually physically secure to prevent unauthorised access.5. Lessen the risk of home and mobile working
Ensure sensitive business data is encrypted when stored or sent online.6. Restrict the use of removable data
Keep access to your systems and information to a minimum
This includes USB drives, DVDs, CDs, and digital cards, and where they are necessary, make sure they’re physically protected and in the right hands.7. Create a well-defined policy
From which websites can be accessed by staff and what apps can be uploaded to who to go to should an employee have a question.8. Demand strong passwords
The strongest passwords contain letters, numbers and characters
The strongest passwords are not words but a selection of random letters, numbers and characters. Use secure password managers such as Dashlane to generate and secure passwords, and to reassure employees should they be concerned about forgetting them.9. Keep on top of security
Once you’ve established a good security system, make sure you test and monitor it on a regular basis. Keep employees trained in your latest practices and fully aware of the potential risk.10. Remove any software or equipment you no longer need
Delete any sensitive information before removing software
Ensure there’s no sensitive information still stored on it when disposed of.
Being aware of cybercrime is a crucial first step in your defence. And by taking these 10 important steps you will help keep the business you love running safely, smoothly and successfully.
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