I’m Rich and I welcome you on my personal space on the Internet. I created this blog with a single purpose – to inspire you to take charge of your money and help you become a financially successful and independent person.
If there is one thing you need to be concerned with in the current day and age, it is cyber security. It does not matter how big or small your business is, or what industry you operate in, you need to put measures in place to protect your company from the threat of a data breach.
Failure to do so could result in thousands and even millions of pounds lost. This is not to mention the negative press and the reputational damage that comes with allowing your customers’ personal data to be compromised. It is no exaggeration to say that a cyber attack could spell the end of your business. With that in mind, read on to discover more about the importance of cyber security today, as well as some useful tips on securing your business.
Why Do YOU Need to Be Worried about Cyber Security?
One of the biggest problems with cyber security today is that businesses do not see themselves as a threat. They have the “it won’t happen to me approach.” Most of the people that feel this way are small business owners. They think that cyber criminals are going to have much bigger fish to fry, so surely they won’t bother with their firm? However, this could not be further from the truth. All companies are targets. Yes, a larger business may represent a more lucrative payday. On the flip side, your small business is likely to represent an easier payday. Hackers recognise that small companies do not have the funds to dedicate to cyber security in the manner that big companies do. They cannot invest in a security department, nor do they have the advanced software. They also probably recognise that you do not feel you are at threat, and so your systems are probably easy to breach and may even be outdated. This shows why it is pivotal to make an effort to secure your business. You are a target. So long as you have an Internet connection and you store data in any capacity, hackers are going to want to find a way in, and so you need to stop them from having one.
In addition to this, you also need to consider what would happen if you were to be breached. Firstly, it would cost you a huge sum of money trying to rectify the problem. Not only would you have fraud losses and compensation costs to contend with, but you would also need to spend money getting to the bottom of the vulnerability so you can patch it as soon as possible. Not only this, but you will have to spend a lot of cash on rebuilding customer relationships, which can be incredibly difficult to do. After all, you are going to receive negative press and trust amongst your consumers will be shattered. You have essentially leaked their private info, and for some customers this is something they cannot come back from. So, you will lose a good chunk of clients and you will spend a lot of money trying to hold onto the rest. There is also the matter of risk and compliance. It is likely that you will have failed to comply with PCI DSS and the other measures that are in place, and so you can expect to be slapped with a big fine in the process too.
Enhancing Cyber Security at Your Business
Now that you are aware of the severe threat cyber criminals’ pose, it is important to put steps in place to tighten up security at your business so that you do not have the experience the cost and hassle that comes with a data attack. Here are some of the steps that you should take…
Educate Your Employees
There is only one place to begin, and this is with employee education. After all, did you know that the vast majority of cyber attacks stem from employees? This is not because they are malicious and want to breach your business. Of course, there are some malicious insider attacks, but usually it comes down to an innocent mistake that has happened because the employee has not been trained in cyber security and, therefore, does not know how to use your computers and systems securely. You need to train employees in everything from creating a strong password to avoiding phishing scams. Simply clicking on a suspicious email could start off a disaster for your business. Your workers also need to know how to create a strong password. They should also change their passwords every three months, and you should make sure that they do not use the same password for all of their accounts. After all, if they do, once someone has access to that person’s Facebook account, for example, they will have access to everything, making it an easy hack.
Keep All of Your Software Up to Date
It is vital that all of your software and your operating system are up to date. This is where a lot of business owners go wrong today. However, outdated systems offer hackers a way in, as they are much easier to breach. If you think about it, most of the time that a new software update comes about it is because of heightened security. You can use programs like Secunia PSI, which will enable you to find software on your computer that needs to be updated. You also need to ensure that all browser plugins, such as lava and flash, are kept up to date. Furthermore, make use of web browsers that receive automatic and frequent security updates. Firefox and Chrome are both good examples of this. You should also turn on automatic updates for your operating system.
Use Mobile Devices Safely
If you allow your workers to bring their own device, you need to ensure they are managing their mobile use safely. There are a number of steps that employees can take to ensure their mobile use is safe. This includes backing up their data, employing data encryption, avoiding storing or transmitting personal data on the device, avoiding links or attachments from unsolicited texts or emails, keeping the device’s operating system up to date, only installing apps from trusted sources, and using a password or PIN to lock the device.
Protect Sensitive Data
While you need to make an effort to protect all data at your business, this is especially the case when it comes to sensitive data. This includes the likes of health information, student records, credit card details, and SSN’s. All of this data should not be kept on mobile devices, laptops, or any other type of workstation. Moreover, encryption should always be utilised when transmitting or storing sensitive data. You should also make sure that all sensitive data files are securely removed from your system when they are no longer required. There is no point in holding onto personal information that could be breached if you do not actually require it anymore.
Put Together a Disaster Recovery Plan
Last but not least, it is important to put a plan in place should the worst happen and your systems are compromised. Of course, the best form of protection is to ensure that a data breach does not happen in the first place. However, because you cannot 100 per cent guarantee that you will never be breached, you do need to have a plan that will enable you to limit the damage as much as possible. You will know exactly what to do when a data breach occurs, and so no precious time will be wasted. You can move quickly and efficiently to secure your data and get your company up and running again as fast as possible.
As you can see, the importance of prioritising cyber security in the current day and age cannot be ignored. The threat is a very real one, and every business is a target. It does not matter how big or small your firm is, you could be the victim of a data breach if you do not put the correct measures in place to prevent it. So, make sure you follow the advice that has been provided, and you always need to have a disaster recovery plan in place should your worst nightmare come to fruition. This will enable you to respond quickly so you can minimise the damage as much as possible.