A recent cyber security study by the Engineering Employer’s Federation found that 90% of large businesses and 74% of small businesses reported a security breach last year.
With that in mind, it’s time to ask yourself: Are you doing enough to keep your small business cyber-secure?
Here are our seven ways to ensure cyber security for your small business.
Pump Up Your Password Protection
Ensure that everyone is using a strong password that includes a mixture of lower case letters, uppercase letters and numbers or symbols. Don’t allow whole names of children, pets or favourite football teams – and also don’t allow passwords to be recorded in files (or, horror of horrors, written on sticky notes attached to monitors, desks or the staffroom fridge!).
Defend your Devices
Whether they’re business-owned devices or employees’ own devices that they’re using, insist that all internet-enabled devices used for work purposes are pin or password protected and run appropriate security software or apps. Have a policy in place for how and where mobile devices are used for work purposes and ensure employees stick to it.
Don’t Skimp on Security Software & Apps
Good security software is essential to protect your data and ensure your systems aren’t infected by viruses – but it’s only as good as your ability to keep it updated! New cyber security threats emerge all the time, forcing the cyber security software developers to constantly refine and upgrade their products. This means that it’s vital to download security software and app updates as soon as you receive a notification.
Ensure Employee Alertness
Employees can be both your biggest liability and your biggest risk when it comes to cyber-security. Ensure your employees trained in basic cyber security measures, understanding what steps they must take to protect PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and how to spot phishing emails and fraudulent invoices.
Have a Regular Back-Up Routine
Imagine there was a fire in your office or a virus wiped your internet-enabled devices. Now think about what information you would need to restart your business as it is now – and how much of that would be lost. Price agreements, orders, contracts, website files, customer and supplier contact details… the list may be endless. Few of us can afford to take chances with this precious information; this information is our business. So back up everything regularly, and preferably to more than one place.
A back-up server, particularly if it’s off the premises, can be ideal, and backing up all your important information to the Cloud is a wise move too. The Cloud isn’t dependent upon one server or one location, so the chance of your information being lost is very slim indeed. To avoid the danger of a regular back-up becoming the task everyone means to do but nobody ever gets round to, schedule automatic back-ups.
Source an SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a small data file that acts as an encryption key. It sits on your web server and encrypts information between your site and the user’s browser, making the connection secure. The presence of an SSL certificate is denoted by that reassuring padlock symbol in the browser bar and the ‘s’ on the end of your http! This makes the submission of card payments and personal or sensitive information much more secure.
Keep Your Knowledge Current
Nothing stands still in the world of cyber-crime for long; unfortunately, new scams, viruses and hacks are unleashed every day. While good anti-malware and anti-virus software will take care of many of your potential problems (providing it’s regularly and swiftly updated!), there’s no substitute for ensuring you remain aware of current issues, concerns and fixes in the cyber-security world. If it’s not something you want to take responsibility for, make sure you delegate the task to someone who knows what they’re talking about and takes cyber-security seriously. The loss of sensitive business of personal data can leave you at the wrong end of an expensive lawsuit – and in a whole heap of trouble.
Want to learn more?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get accounting tips like this right to your inbox
About The Author
We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!