Published On: Thu, Jun 22nd, 2017

How to prevent a cyberattack on your business

More than a third of SMEs in the UK have been the target of a cyberattack of some kind during the last twelve months, and the consequences are becoming more devastating due to the detrimental impact on an enterprise’s finances, reputation and consumer confidence. As the frequency of these attacks increase, it is vital that companies put in place a strategy that protects themselves from daily threats to business continuity. 

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Here are a few tactics for cybersecurity success:

Security culture

Cybersecurity should be a collective effort as any measures or strategies are likely to fail when implemented independently, which means everyone across the organisation needs to be on board, from employees to executive leadership and management. Building a culture focused on cybersecurity is the best way to prevent attacks as important practices will be intertwined with core business operations. Such a culture ensures every department has a stake in making security work instead of it being relegated to an IT division that operates in silo and is not in tune with the rest of the enterprise.

To get started with a security focused culture, outline a formal company internet policy with details and rules about what practices, such as retrieving attachments, are prohibited on certain devices. For example, preventing employees from accessing personal emails on the business Wi-Fi network can be particularly effective. You should also send emails about current and emerging threats and hold meetings with IT experts to assess the risk landscape.

Hire experts

According to a study by Robert Walters, more than half of UK enterprises stated they would embark on recruitment drives in 2017 to hire cybersecurity experts. The importance of bringing in professionals with knowledge of hardware, networks, databases, firewalls and encryption cannot be understated in the digital age, especially when the costs of hacks and breaches are increasing. Hiring an IT specialist who is registered with an umbrella company on a contract basis is arguably the most effective option as you will be able to recruit the skill sets you require and work with an organisation a manages contractor paperwork.

Encrypt data

Hackers are always on the hunt for easily accessible information so why make it easy for them? Encrypting critical and sensitive data with tools on popular operating systems will add an extra layer of security and ensure you are compliant with increasingly stringent data regulations.

Email spam

Small and medium-sized enterprises are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks, which install malicious software on smartphones and other devices and demand a ransom for unlocking it. Founder of Protective Intelligence, Vince Warrington, says a “blend of technical and education solutions” is key to mitigating the risks. Ransomware requires an end user to activate it so promote a healthy scepticism among employees about emails and attachments, so they are always questioning who they are from and whether they are legitimate.

Response plan

Guarding against email spam and other attacks also requires a robust response plan. Warrington adds: “There’s nothing quite so devastating for your business as finding out that you’ve become a victim of ransomware, only to discover that your backups are so old – or non-existent – that you can no longer operate.” You should always make backups of your data either locally or via a cloud-based service. However, a response plan needs to be more extensive and wide reaching and should focus on strategies that will allow employees to make fast and informed decisions during a crisis. You should also test plans with regular live drills.

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About the Author

- Adam Lee is a financial writer who has insightful knowledge in dealing with different financial issues. He tries to help people to get out of difficult financial situations by contributing financial write ups to websites and blogs such as Moneyforlunch.com and Moneynewsnow.com

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