Businesses have to be more careful than ever when it comes to their security. Data theft, malware, ransomware—there’s no end to the threats. Barely a day goes by without hearing about another data breach, and with huge fines for failing to protect your data, it’s something you need to take very seriously.
As Packiyarajan Ganesamoorthy, Director at ICT Space, explains: "A successful cyber attack can be devastating for any small business, particularly if your resources are limited because the effects are often widespread, including financial, reputational and legal damage. All business need to understand the risks of cyber security and how to protect their IT systems and data, and they should have a cyber security plan. It is a business risk."
Organizations of all sizes need to take preventative action, so read on for a quick security checklist you can follow to keep your business protected.
SMEs should not think they are less at risk because they are smaller. On the contrary, they are often more tempting targets because hackers know they are more likely to have inadequate security in place. The good news is that if you’re taking basic security measures, your business will be less at risk. This is because potential hackers will often move on to other softer targets.
Here are some of the basics you need to put in place to protect your data and ensure hackers don’t cause any problems for your business:
Passwords have their problems, but you can reduce the risks by ensuring you and your team use strong, uncrackable passwords. There is lots of advice on choosing secure passwords. For example, it’s a good idea to use long, random passwords that cannot be guessed. Consider using a password manager like LastPass, and that way everyone can use more secure passwords without having to worry about remembering them.
Patrick Nohe, Content Manager at The SSL Store, says: "As of July, it's mandatory that all websites install an SSL certificate, but as a business, you should have done that a long time ago. Good connection security is just a part of a larger holistic approach, but it can't be overlooked. You need to install an SSL certificate and migrate to HTTPS immediately if you haven't already.
"Beyond just installing SSL, you'll need to make sure you have your servers configured to only support TLS 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. Previous versions of the TLS and SSL protocols are vulnerable."
You need to know what your current risk level is. You might have a good idea already, but it’s good to know exactly what risks you face so you can take action. Get a full audit from a security firm and carry out penetration testing to find out what action you need to take.
Always make sure you upgrade to the latest versions of software you run on your systems. Download all the updates and security patches, otherwise hackers could take advantage of vulnerabilities to infect your systems with malware.
Humans are often the weakest link, so make sure they know about their security responsibilities. Arrange training on issues such as how to deal with email attachments, and make sure they do not have sensitive business data on their personal devices.
Make sure you have high-quality Antivirus software in place and use a firewall. Keep it updated, and this will help to reduce the risks significantly.
Hackers could take over your data or encrypt your files, your property could be affected by a storm or a fire—anything could go wrong. Backing up will ensure your data is safe. Consider backing up in the cloud so you can access it anywhere.
The threats posed by malicious hackers are real. Ransomware, malware, and data theft can cause significant problems for your business, so make sure you are prepared. One final step you should take is to carry out a regular audit. Go over your security every six months, and look for any potential problems that need to be addressed. Also, consider speaking to a security specialist to find out what else you can do to make sure your data stays safe.
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