Small businesses under attack from cyber criminals – how to protect your business

Although we only ever hear about the attacks on big brands and agencies in the headlines, small businesses are still very much at risk. If not more so since small businesses often lack the necessary resources and policies needed to prevent and defend against cyber-crimes and hackers. According to research carried out by AON, cyber risk is now seen as one of the top 10 risks to businesses.

In 2014, 60% of small businesses experienced a cyber-breach, with the average cost of the worst breach ranging from £65,000 – £115,000. A recent report from Verizon revealed that 83% of data breaches that exposed businesses to cyber-crime were down to human errors such as sending an email to the wrong person; crimeware (various malware aimed at gaining control of systems) and insider/privilege misuse.

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There are a number of simple steps you can take to prevent your business coming under threat from a cyber-attack.

  1. Install and use antivirus software. Install the latest antivirus software on all your devices and keep up to date with software updates and security patches.
  2. Data security. Make sure all emails and communications are encrypted. This can act as a deterrent to cyber criminals who will look elsewhere for easier targets to attack.
  3. Keep up with your software updates. Download software updates as soon as they appear – they often contain vital security upgrades that keep your devices and business information safe.
  4. Be password savvy. Make sure you and all your employees use strong passwords made up of at least three random words, different case letters, numbers and symbols.
  5. Train your staff. Make sure all your staff are fully aware of the risks, understand all the processes you have in place to prevent a cyber-attack and that they adhere to your cyber and data security policies.
  6. Risk Management. Make sure cyber-crime features prominently on your risk register. Take the time to constantly review the current risks and make sure you have the right planning and management strategies in place.
  7. Speak to your insurance broker or business insurer about cyber risk and see if you need to take further measures to protect your business against the threat of a cyber-attack.

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