Speak to any company director these days and most will cite IT security as the number one threat facing their business. Companies are now so reliant on computer and web technologies that many businesses would simply cease to function in the event of data loss or a full-blown cyber-attack.
In a recent survey by insurance company Hiscox, the average cybercrime incident was found to cost businesses $200,000, with more than half of all Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) reporting a breach in security in the last year.
Conversely, another survey by Accenture found that only 14% of small business owners are willing to invest in properly defending themselves against cybercrime – potentially leaving the door wide open for hackers to exploit a huge number of these smaller-scale firms.
Sensible precautions all businesses can take against cybercrime
There’s a common misconception among business owners that cybersecurity has to be big-budget – but that need not necessarily be the case. Even just taking a few basic steps will greatly increase your safety online:
- Always use internet security and antivirus software
- Remember to use strong, alphanumeric passwords – and change them regularly
- Manage your social media settings and avoid posting personal details online
- Keep all software updated – including your Operating System (OS)
- Strengthen your domestic Wi-Fi settings and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on public Wi-Fi
- Monitor potential security breaches i.e. if you know a website you used recently has been attacked, change your password immediately
More advanced network security options
However, while the above precautions are ample for a home network, given the importance of data to your company, in most cases it would be sensible to at least consider employing more advanced security. As well as the steps above, it’s also worth looking at installing more advanced hardware on your system – like an all-in-one gateway solution similar to those available at checkpointdirect.co.uk, which offer increased protection including:
- Cloud user and data protection
- Defense against inadvertent attacks from unsecured mobile devices
- Mobile access settings and tiered rights management
- Protection against unwanted intruders
- Anti-spam and email filtering
- Compliance settings to adhere to current standards
In addition, many companies choose to partner with specialist IT companies to look after their networks because of the increased peace of mind. Working with a professional company offers many benefits, including ongoing support and disaster recovery services should the absolute worst happen and your network falls victim to an attack.
The “I’m too small to attract cybercrime” syndrome
Many small business owners believe their company is too insignificant or their turnover too low to be an attractive proposition for organized cybercriminals. However, quite the opposite is true and cybercrime is now the world’s fastest-growing criminal activity – with around 43% of all attacks targeted directly at smaller businesses.
The truth is, cybercrime does not discriminate and hackers are equally likely to target small companies as they are larger entities. Indeed, one might argue, with lower security and protection, SMEs actually present a far more tempting proposition through relative ease of access. While it may be tempting to think your smaller business doesn’t need to invest in internet security, you’ll soon think otherwise should you fall victim to an attack.
As with most areas of life, prevention is the best cure and taking a few simple steps today could save you hours of worry and disruption tomorrow.