Protecting your Business from Cyber Threats

May 6, 2017Diana Lengerson


Businesses around the world face significant losses due to cyber threats: whether an attack results in a financial loss or damage to the reputation of your business, the harm that a single attack can cause can be substantial. In fact, a US survey suggests that 60% of smaller businesses that are the victim of a cyber-attack will be out of business within six months. However, cyber risks can be mitigated – here are some ideas to limit the risk that cyber threats pose to your business.

Use complex, unique passwords

Hackers often gain access to systems because they are able to guess the passwords in use, or because a business uses the same password for different systems and services. For systems that are important to your business, the best passwords to have are completely random and unique. Critical systems should have 16-digit random passwords, which you can obtain from a random password generator.

Always update your software

Software inevitably has flaws, and it is only a matter of time before cyber attackers find these flaws and exploit them. Usually, these flaws are reported quite quickly, and the vendor will issue an update for the software or system that patches the flaw. Updates do not necessarily install automatically, and the managers responsible for your hardware and software need to ensure that all systems are always updated on a regular basis.

Hire security expertise

The field of IT security is complex, and unless your business is in the technology field, it is unlikely that you will have the in-house skills. Instead, hire cybersecurity experts. You can hire experts via an umbrella company, which makes the process of hiring a contractor easier. Umbrella companies take care of tax issues such as IR35 and handle the invoicing between you and the contractor.

Work with trusted suppliers

It is not uncommon for businesses to get all the essentials right when it comes to their own systems, only to be tripped up by a crucial supplier that does not have the same serious approach to security. Verify that a supplier also keeps to industry-standard security practices before you purchase services from them. If it is an ongoing relationship, you need to regularly review the status of your suppliers as practices can change over time.

Educate your employees

Put in place an information technology policy that explains to your employees what they are allowed to access via company systems, and educate them on the use of secure passwords. Training on how to avoid phishing attacks is also helpful, as often hackers can impersonate real employees or business partners in an attempt to gain access to systems.

Cybersecurity is of growing importance, in part due to the increased reliance of companies on electronic networks to conduct business. Your business needs to actively mitigate cybersecurity risks on a day-to-day basis to avoid falling victim. A combination of vigilance, following set procedures, and user training will help you to avoid many of the most common cybersecurity risks.



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