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In this age of connectivity and access, the easier it is for you to reach your customer, the easier it is for people to reach you. It is therefore important to protect your systems and valuable data.
The world of Cyber security is no longer the remit of your ‘IT Manager’ it is now reaching the boardroom. Cyber crime is on the rise and it is extremely profitable. In fact “70% of fraud is cyber enabled” (Ian Dyson, Commissioner, City of London Police). You can buy an attack that could take down a website for less than £5. Whilst the attack is temporary, the costs of getting back online can be expensive and the brand damage can be catastrophic.
With Cyber Attacks and the costs associated with these continually increasing, we have put together some tips to protect yourself as below:
- Understand your data and where it is – you need to know how and where your data is stored, how often it is backed up.
- Recognise what data is business critical – it might not be the customer or staff details but trading information that competitors could use.
- Know what to do and who does it in the event of a crisis. Time could be wasted working this out before customers and competitors find out.
- Staff education – your staff are the weakest link, they can give access without knowing it and through good intentions
- Media controls – did you know you can turn off the USB ports on your computer? Do you need them? no, then turn them off. If you have WiFi you should have a guest one to control traffic access.
- Software – update your software or delete old and unused applications. Old programs with old weaknesses are easy and cheap ways into your system. It is like leaving a window open.
- Monitor – have methods of checking who is in your systems so if they get through your firewall you can pick them up before they get to something secure
- Check your providers and contractors. Big companies have been brought to their knees by servicing contractors like their air conditioning contractors. Cyber Essentials certification is a great way to check.
- Firewall – ensure your systems are protected by a Firewall and that this is kept up to date
- Penetration Testing – consider employing ethical hackers from time to time to test the security of your systems and how secure they are.
If you do not protect yourself then not only could you be open to attack, additional costs and brand damage, but also open to a fine of up to £500,000 (under the Data Protection Act).
There is no guarantee of protection but by building layers you make it more and more difficult to bypass security to get at your most valuable data.
This is just a drop in the ocean as to what is available to you, and it is evolving fast. We are here to help you wherever we can but to know the full ins and outs of security systems we would always recommend the professionals. What to do next: