It's easy for smaller businesses to overlook how secure their data is. It happens to big businesses but surely not my little company? Well, it does, and cyber attackers love how relaxed you are about it. The number of attacks is rising too, with over half (55% to be precise) of businesses in the UK reporting an attack this year (2019).
So, what should you be doing to make sure you're protected? Here are ten things you can do today to help keep your business safe.
1. Install antivirus software on all devices
You'll want any device you use for work to be protected so make sure you install and turn on your anti-virus software. In most cases, it's offered for free when you purchase equipment, but if you have sensitive information that you need to keep safe, it's best to pay for software that's going to protect you in all circumstances.
We have listed a range of small business antivirus software.
2. Educate your staff on what they should and shouldn't download
Prevent staff from downloading third-party apps onto any mobile phones or tablets that you supply them. Apps should only be downloaded from manufacturer approved platforms like Google play or the app store from Apple. When they come from either of these apps stores it means they're protected from malware already, making your life a little easier. You can also provide staff awareness training as part of your employee development package.
3. Keep your IT equipment up to date
The software and firmware should always be up to date on all of your IT equipment. I know its easy to click off the update alert every time it pops up, but it's just trying to protect you. Continually updating with the latest versions means your data is always secure. When the updates are no longer available, you should think about replacing the product with the manufacturers latest edition.
4. Always keep your data backup separate from your main computer
If ransomware makes its way in, usually, it can move onto other devices that are attached. This means your backup could get infected and you'll be left with absolutely nothing to recover from. It's also useful to do this in case of fire or theft too.
5. Opt for cloud storage
If you don't want to mess about with different USB sticks, separate drives or separate computers, you could always store your essential data in the cloud. When a service provider stores your data on their infrastructure its usually at a higher level of security. It means you can store your data in a separate location to you. Providers often allow you to have a certain amount of space for free and then if or when you need it, you can pay to increase that storage space. For the security you get, it is a minimal amount to pay to protect your business.
We have listed a range of small business cloud storage providers.
6. Monitor use of USB drives and memory cards
To prevent infected sticks being plugged in you'll want to only give access to approved users. So physically blocking access to USB ports for the majority of employees and only allowing approved sticks and memory cards to be used in your company. Remember, it only takes one infected stick to bring down your whole business.
7. Always use password protection
Always have your mobile phones or tablets password protected or even better, opt for fingertip recognition. Simple passwords can often be guessed from social media profiles so choose a tricky one to make it harder for the average criminal to guess.
8. Switch on your firewall
Easy to forget this one but so important. The firewall creates a cushion between your network and external ones. Always remember to switch it on.
9. Track your devices
If your staff has had their devices stolen, you'll want to be able to track, lock and wipe them before anyone gets to any sensitive information kept on them.
10. Always use two-factor authentication (2FA) for the extra important accounts
By using two-factor authentication security (2FA), it makes it harder for criminals to get into your devices. It's super easy to do and not a lot of effort for extra protection you get.
Hiscox provide Cyber and data risks insurance to help support businesses if they experience a data breach or malicious cyber hack.
The government backed Cyber Essentials certification will help protect your small business from a range of common cyber attacks