How to Defend Your SMB From Cyber Threats
We have already explored the importance of cyber security in our previous article, so we now know that it must take pride of place at the very top of your business concerns and that the methods used by cyber criminals are many. We must be prepared for everything cyber criminals can throw at us.
In this article we will investigate some cyber security fundamentals that will equip and prepare you and your team in the eventuality of a strategically planned cyber attack.
The Cyber Security Fundamentals
Good data backup
Data backup is essential. There is no way of stopping an attack happening, and there is no such thing as being ‘cyber secure.’ But you must have a strategy in place that ensures your IT systems, and your essential data, are safeguarded to the best possible standard. Your business relies on data – every business does – if it is stolen or deleted then that could jeopardise the functionality of your entire business.
As we said, Cyber security cannot be guaranteed. It is impossible because new methods of attack are being developed every day. It is how you approach these risks that matters. The most important goal is to have the opportunity to continue working to an at least similar capacity that you could before the attack or disaster – business continuity is all that matters. Data backup will allow you to keep promises to clients and continue operations regardless of the circumstances.
Passwords – we all use them. It should be customary practice to utilise them to their full effect – just be sure that you don’t use common number or letter sequences, or words or phrases that mean something to you. Excellent quality passwords are random – the letters, numbers, and other characters aren’t ordered in a certain way or have any significance to you. Make them difficult but so you can remember them (it is surprising how quickly you can forget).
It is important to follow a strict set of rules when creating passwords: this is the only way you know that your password will be capable of doing its job. Your team having a clear guide to follow allows you peace of mind about their passwords too.
- Use multi-factor authentication where it is available.
- If it is too easy to remember – then don’t use it. Avoid easily recalled sequential passwords, recurring numbers or words (such as 1234, 6789, Dog name, Cat name, etc).
- If possible, make sure your password is over ten characters long and contains a combination of letters, numbers and even special characters – when it comes to passwords the longer the better!
- Use upper and lowercase letters.
- Periodically change your password; sometimes accounts are hacked unbeknownst to the account holder.
Passwords are arguably the most important of all cyber security measures that you can implement. It is understandable – however unfortunate – that most think about the ease of their own experience rather than the security of the system, but doing this leads them to make their passwords easy to remember and input as opposed to being as secure as possible. Your data must be safeguarded, regardless of how tedious inputting it can be.
Managing permissions to your system is another key cyber security measure. A breach could result in data loss, theft or – if the cyber criminals are particularly clever – deliberate changes to your security settings which facilitate future attacks.
You MUST always have Anti-Malware software downloaded (and updated) on your laptops and computers. That goes for all devices at home too, not just business ones. It is great that most vendors offer a free version of Anti-Malware software, but, unfortunately – with them being free – they are rarely good enough to defend against even the least capable Malware let alone the sophisticated attacks we all face today. Replace the free one with capable quality rated software as soon as possible.
People think that theft is the aim of a cyber criminal, and they would be right, to a point. Cyber criminals aim to encrypt your data. Yes, this is going to sound confusing, but you need to get there first.
Encrypting your own data sounds counterproductive but the way you encrypt it is slightly different, and you hold all the keys. Data encryption works by scrambling the readable text of your files and documents so they can only be read by the person who holds the ‘key.’ If you get there first you are the gatekeeper of your system, and you decide who enters.
Your team are the first – and most important – line of defence in your organisation. Most cyber attacks are aimed at their lack of knowledge about the system and their suspected ignorance to the severity of a sophisticated cyber attack. You must ensure that they know, first what to look out for, and secondly how to use the various tools and knowledge you provide them with in the best way to achieve the most secure results.
Keeping your technology functional and secure
We recognise the challenges that businesses face daily with their technology – and security is one of the most prominent of them all. Our team of experts will collaborate with you to find a cyber security strategy that compliments the way you do business. We will also educate your team to be sure that they understand the strategy and are prepared for whatever a cyber criminal can throw at them. With our help you can go into the future confident that your systems are secure. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our expert team to find out more.
Tel: 020 7250 3840
124 City Road
Dew Gates The Street