Defending Your SMB from Cyber Threats

Defending Your SMB from Cyber Threats

Now that we have explored the importance of cyber security, we know that it must take pride of place at the very top of your business concerns. In the previous article we also learnt some of the many methods used by cyber criminals to gain access to our systems and our sensitive data. It is essential that we are prepared for anything and everything that cyber criminals can throw at us.
You must know some of the cyber security fundamentals that can both equip and prepare your team for a potentially business defining cyber attack.

The Cyber Security Fundamentals

Good data backup


There is, unfortunately, no way of stopping an attack happening, so this makes effective data backup essential. There is no such thing as being 100% ‘cyber secure’ but that doesn’t mean just ignoring it - just because it can’t be perfect doesn’t mean that it can’t be very close. You must have a strategy in place that ensures your IT systems - and your essential data - are safeguarded to the best possible standard. Without data your business wouldn’t exist, let alone survive and thrive, so if it is stolen or deleted then that could jeopardise the functionality of your entire business.

As we said, 100% cyber security is impossible and new methods of attack are being developed every day. It is the way that we approach these risks that really matters. The most important goal is that, however devastating the attack is, you will still be able to operate to an at least similar standard to which you are accustomed. An effective data backup will allow you to keep promises to clients and continue operations regardless of the circumstances.

Secure passwords


Passwords - we all use them. It should be customary practice to utilise them to their full effect - just be sure that you don’t use common number or letter sequences, or words or phrases that mean something to you. Excellent quality passwords are random - the letters, numbers, and other characters mustn’t be ordered in a certain way or have any significance to you. Make them difficult but so you can remember them (it is surprising how quickly you can forget).
It is important to follow a strict set of rules when creating passwords: this is the only way you know that your password will be capable of doing its job. Your team having a clear guide to follow allows you peace of mind about their passwords too.

• Use multi-factor authentication where it is available.

• If it is too easy to remember then don’t use it. Avoid easily recalled sequential passwords, recurring numbers or words (such as 1234, 6789, Dog name, Cat name, etc).

• If possible, make sure your password is over ten characters long and contains a combination of letters, numbers and even special characters - when it comes to passwords the longer the better!

• Use upper and lowercase letters.

• Periodically change your password; sometimes accounts are hacked unbeknownst to the account holder.

• Passwords are arguably the most important of all cyber security measures that you can implement. It is understandable – however unfortunate - that most think about the ease of their own experience rather than the security of the system, but doing this leads them to make their passwords easy to remember and input as opposed to being as secure as possible. Your data must be safeguarded, regardless of how tedious inputting it can be.

Manage permissions


Managing permissions to your system is another key cyber security measure. A breach could result in data loss, theft or - if the cyber criminals are particularly clever - deliberate changes to your security settings which facilitate future attacks.

Anti-Malware measures


You MUST always have Anti-Malware software downloaded (and updated) on your laptops and computers. This applies to home devices as well, not just those at work. The majority of vendors offer a free version of Anti-Malware software, but, unfortunately when something is free there is normally a reason for that: they are rarely good enough to defend against even the simplest of cyber attacks we face today, let alone the most sophisticated. This makes it essential that you replace the free one with capable quality rated software as soon as possible.

Data encryption


Cyber criminals aim to steal data, we all know this – but before that, a lot of attacks require them to encrypt it first. So, you need to beat them to the punch – this can sound confusing so just stick with us – you need the keys to your kingdom - it is essential.
Data encryption works by scrambling the readable text of your files and documents so they can only be read by the person who holds the ‘keys.’ You must get there first; doing this will make you the gatekeeper with full control over who enters.

Education


Your team need to know the importance they have in the defence of your system. The majority of cyber attacks are aimed at your team’s lack of knowledge about the systems they are using, and a level of ignorance to the consequences of a successful cyber attack on the business. Your team need to know the threats they are facing, be vigilant to those threats at all times, and know how to use the various tools and knowledge you provide them with in the most beneficial way.
Cyber security is essential - you must prepare your team and systems for all that a cyber criminal can throw at them.

Value from your tools


BCNS make business easier and more cost-effective by guaranteeing that you and your team are always connected to each other and your clients. We can also guarantee that your team are using the latest version of every application to ensure that your systems are secure and you are getting the best possible benefits from your tech. Our team of experts will assist you throughout the transition and beyond to be sure you achieve exactly what you desire. At the same time we can reduce your expenses and improve your security as well as performance! Contact us now and find out how we can help you with your business IT and ensure that you and your team are working as securely as possible.