Answering the questions:
“How dangerous is cyber crime for my business?”
“What precautions should I take against cyber crime?”
In the 2015-16 financial year, recorded cyber crime cost the UK economy £10.9 billion. For small businesses alone, the average cost of a cyber attack is about £3,000. When we hear about attacks on large firms and businesses (Equifax, Deliotte, the NHS, and even the mobile company Three) we are tempted to put our heads down and keep moving along, the same way we might with other bad news online. But if gaining awareness is important, then taking action is critical. Cyber crime can cost your business everything, but there are key steps you can take – advised by experts in the field – to protect your business and your customers against devastating loss.
Be sure your systems fight against both types of cyber crime
Cyber crime is categorised as theft (of customer records, financial information, or strategic plans) or digital vandalism (viruses, DDoS attacks, malware, and website hacks). Unfortunately, organisations are increasingly threatened with ransomware – a nasty mixture of those two attacks – holding information or systems hostage until a ransom is paid.
You should begin with a rigorous risk assessment process to identify your system’s weaknesses. You can protect against theft with cloud-based, encrypted storage for your sensitive data. Protect against digital vandalism with stronger anti-virus software, updated firewalls, and repeated penetration tests to assess the strength of your systems.
Update your technology
Cyber security experts recommend that you start with the basics: updating firewalls and changing over to stronger passwords stored with encryption. Kelly Bissell, the managing director of Accenture Security, also reminds businesses to “adopt a dynamic, nimble security strategy that builds resilience from the inside out – versus only focusing on the perimeter.” An example of this is to consider a managed DRaaS strategy instead of using a simple backup procedure. A comprehensive DR plan allows for thorough testing of your system’s resilience and identification of any weaknesses.
Educate your staff
A statement released by Accenture Security and the Ponemon Institute in September 2017 showed that among 254 global organisations, companies suffered an average of 130 breaches this year. These breaches were defined as core network or enterprise system infiltrations. Experts agree that your staff are your first line of defense against most of these breaches.
If, as stated above, the average cyber attack costs small businesses £3,000, vigilance by your staff could translate to thousands in savings and considerable protection of your reputation. Enforce strict password upgrades and remind your teams how typical phishing and hacking scams tend to work. Build a strong and straightforward plan for what to do in case of a data breach, and make sure that everyone knows their part to play. Repeated frequently, these small changes help create an ethos of cyber-crime prevention.
At Rockford IT, we have a proven track record of helping clients improve their data and IT system security. You can contact us here to speak with a member of our expert team about preparing for cyber attacks and building more resilient systems.
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