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Almost half of small businesses have suffered cyber-attack in the last year

Nov 20, 2018

We’ve blogged several times in recent months about the issue of cybercrime and how it is something that all small businesses must be aware of. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a cyber-attack can only affect large companies.

In light of this, recent figures from the Government show that in the past year 43% of all businesses and charities had experienced a cyber-attack or breach. When looking specifically at small businesses this figure rises to 47% experiencing a breach or attack in the last 12 months – that’s nearly half which is a very significant figure.

• The types of cyber-attack ranged from hacking, computer viruses through to data theft
• Cyber breaches were most common in businesses who store personal data or those where staff use personal devices

Here are some tips for how to protect yourself from cybercrime. It is often some of the more simple areas that a cyber-criminal will look at when trying to identify a potential target:

Use strong passwords

These can help stop unauthorised access to your accounts. Make sure all devices are password protected or use the equivalent feature for smartphones and other devices such as fingerprint or face unlock.

Make sure your passwords aren’t easily guessed, update any default passwords set by manufacturers and don’t encourage password sharing across your company – give staff their own accounts. You can also set up two factor authentication on very important accounts. Requiring two methods to prove identity adds additional security against cyber-attack.

Keep up to date with the latest software and app updates

This can help protect you from malware attacks – software or online content that can-do harm to your online systems. Making sure your systems are up to date (known as patching) with the latest updates from software developers and your suppliers is an important process for your IT department. Have an antivirus system in place and only download apps from approved stores such as the Apple Store or Google Play.

Other tips include activating your firewall as this can act as a buffer between your network and external networks form which attacks could come. Likewise, be careful how staff use USB and memory cards as these can be used to spread malware.

Educate your staff to avoid phishing attacks

A phishing attack is a relatively unsophisticated method that cyber criminals use and involves the sending of fake emails asking you to disclose sensitive information or asking people to click a link to a bad website. Whilst you can educate staff about phishing attacks, what a phishing email may look like and to be vigilant some may slip through the cracks. Email filtering systems can help pick out likely phishing emails and only give staff data access that they truly require for their job to limit any damage if you are a victim of a phishing attack.

As a small business you can see from the recent government figures that it’s never been more important to be vigilant when it comes to cyber-crime. One way you can also look to protect yourself is by reviewing your business insurance. Cyber insurance is becoming a lot more accessible and Anthony Jones can work with you to identify your requirements in relation to your specific business needs.

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