Since 2013 investors have lost at least £42 billion pounds to the damage caused by cyber-attacks, according to research by Oxford Economics. “Once a breach has occurred, the clock is ticking and a business will only have a short period of time to instruct cyber specialists, lawyers, PR managers and insurers,” Andrew Gilhurst of K&L Gates LLP states.
With even small businesses using computer software and the internet to store online data, everyone is at risk of being hacked. Small to medium sized businesses can no longer ignore paying for security, as hackers target the naÃ¯ve.
No matter the size of the business, it is worth scrutinising the security on all platforms that your business operates. This article will give you an idea of what you should think about.
The good news is that by now you have probably realised security is essential. Now you should put together a plan of how you can tackle the possibility of being hacked. It is a good idea to approach a security consultant to help you develop your plan as it will change depending on your company and your resources.
Firstly, you need to communicate to your employees about risk assessment and help them to improve how they operate in a secure manner. A study by Barclays found that employee complacency was the biggest risk to a firms cyber security. Remind them about what makes a strong password, and to be careful when opening emails that may look suspect.
Secondly, if you use or store consumer data, your procedures will be subject to The Personal Data Protection Legislation. This outlines responsibilities that a company must adhere to when using or storing consumer’s personal data. If this applies to you, research the responsibilities here.
Chances are, you or your employees are using IT software or mobile devices to communicate with customers or clients. Some amount of data will be stored. As a last defence, anti-virus software should be installed across all devices. This will provide a barrier between any contagious content and your system, malware or otherwise. There are many options available by both computer software developers and mobile app developers.
Your business will also need to ensure that secure and private data is encrypted, so that only those who have permission can access it. Encryption can be as simple as a password. Technology companies worldwide are developing new encryption methods, such as the fingerprint readers on an Apple iPhone.
Once you have trained your employees on data protection and implicated anti-virus software, company regulations should be tested regularly to ensure it is being complied to. This can be as simple as setting up fake spam emails and seeing which employees click on any links or offer details. Those that do should then be subjected to further training and reminded of the regulations and procedures.
Finally, regularly update the anti-virus software. Updates may come as standard from a software developer, but it would be up to you and your employees to update your devices. Software developers update software so that they can block any new coding or software that is being utilised by hackers.