There have been several notorious cyber attacks in recent years, affecting big companies, such as British Airways and the NHS.
It’s easy to sit back and think, of course hackers would go after such high profile targets. But the truth is, cybercrime isn’t just reserved for the big guys and gals. In fact, there are an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber attacks on UK small businesses every day.
Here’s where we run into a problem, however. We don’t all have large cybersecurity budgets to ward off the Mr. Robots of the world. So, what can you do to protect your business?
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent cyber attacks that won’t cost you a thing. Your approach should be two-fold, addressing both the technological and human elements that are often to blame for breaches.
Protect Your Tech
The first thing you need to do is to upgrade and update any major software and servers on the reg. The reason being, hackers can access your systems through vulnerabilities in outdated software. The NHS learned this the hard way in 2017 when they were hit by the WannaCry ransomware attack. The service hadn’t updated their version of Microsoft Windows and so hackers found their way in.
To keep your digital assets safe, you should encrypt your data. Especially, if you store sensitive customer information such as credit card information. There are encryption tools out there which you don’t have to pay for, such as free VPNs. Encryption converts the data in your cloud and servers into an unreadable format. So, even if anybody gets their mitts on it, it’ll be all Greek to them.
Address the Human Element
Somebody call Anne Robinson because employees can often be your weakest links. For this reason, you need to not only train staff in cybersecurity but also create a culture in which they take cybersecurity seriously. There’s no room for simple mistakes, such as clicking on malicious links or opening email attachments from unknown sources.
Similarly, you must ensure that any third party you work with adheres to cybersecurity standards. If cybercriminals find a vulnerability through a third party supplier or vendor then all of your good work goes to waste. Moreover, you should restrict access to sensitive information for both your employees and third parties.
Lastly, be aware that your hardware is just as much of a risk as software. Nowadays, it’s normal for companies to use a range of mobile devices along with your bog standard PCs and laptops. If a malicious individual steals an iPad, you may have more to worry about than the money you have to fork out for another. Thieves could gain access to sensitive information. So, make sure such items are physically secure. Track and encrypt these devices, too.
Eventually, these cybersecurity measures will become second nature, thus minimising the risk of a cyber attack. And the good news is, taking care of your tech and encouraging vigilance doesn’t cost a thing.