Protect your businesses from cyber crime in 2017

Is your business safe from phishers?

You may think your business is small fry for hackers, but the statistics suggest otherwise. According to research from the Federation of Small Businesses:

  • 66% of small businesses have been the victim of cyber crime in the last two years.
  • Small business will suffer on average 4 cyber crimes every 2 years.
  • Between 2014 – 2015 cybercrime cost small businesses in the UK a total of £5.26bn.
  • Each attack costs small business victims an average of £3,000.

The majority of these attacks are phishing: Fraudulently obtaining sensitive data by masquerading as a trusted website.

Or spear phishing: Fraudulently obtaining sensitive data by masquerading as a trusted email.

Phishing attacks are aimed at individual users rather than computer systems or networks because cyber criminals know that people are usually the weakest link in any security system.

Have you heard the story of the international corporation whose security was compromised by coffee?

man standing outside a bank

The corporation, we’ll call them Acme Int, paid a security firm a lot of money to protect their IT networks and their offices from threats.

The security firm spent a lot of time putting advanced protective systems in place and when they’d finished they ran a whole bunch of tests.

One of these tests used no technology at all.

They dressed a technician up in a suit and gave them two cups of coffee to hold, one in each hand, then they sent them to Acme’s headquarters.

The technician walked into the building purposefully and strode across the lobby to the lifts.

To use the lift Acme employees had to swipe their ID card, but the disguised technician simply held up their two cups of coffee and shrugged, a helpful passerby swiped the lift open for them.

The technicians repeated this trick at every barrier they came to until they reached the top floor and the executive offices.

Without lifting a finger or using a single computer they had bypassed all the security systems in the building.

The lesson is that the best IT systems in the world can’t protect you from human error.  

Which is why it is vitally important to train yourself and your employees to recognise threats and respond accordingly.  ‘Traditional’ cybercrime such as malware still makes up 29% of all cyber attacks experienced by small businesses.

Malware can be inadvertently downloaded all too easily, and once it’s on your network it spreads rapidly just like a virus.

So, how do you protect your business from cyber crime?

dial a geek engineers fixing it equipment

  1. As a small business you don’t need to spend thousands of pounds on elaborate security systems, but you should be running quality security software such as ESET antivirus.

2. You should also make sure the software and operating systems on your computer are up to date, older versions are less secure and pose a risk to your business.

3. If you’re not already backing up your data regularly then do it now. We can’t stress this enough, back-up systems are incredibly cheap compared to the cost of data recovery.

4. Implement a strong password policy within your business (you can download a FREE template here).

5. Implement a BYOD policy for employees and freelancers (find your FREE template here).