For small businesses, the impact of cyber crime can be devasting. It has the potential to bring a business to its knees and wreak havoc in pretty much every aspect of an organisation.
Although small businesses may not consider themselves high risk or even a priority for hackers, the truth is, anyone can be caught up in cybercrime and small businesses are no exception. Luckily, business owners can protect themselves against such challenges and implement proven systems and strategies to help reduce the risk and likelihood of any cyber activities hurting the business.
As the pandemic pushes more businesses online and working from home becomes increasingly common, the risks of small businesses getting caught up in potential hacking or phishing is only going up.
In this article, we provide an overview of cyber security and tips for getting the most out of these sorts of systems. For more information and support, get in touch with our expert team here at Three Cherries.
Understanding the Risks of Cybercrime
The financial cost of finding a breach in IT systems can be significant. Ransomware, for example, quite literally requires a ransom to be paid to gain access to vital business systems. Refusing to pay can often lead to serious consequences in business operations due to lost access to vital data. Norsk Hydro was a victim of ransomware and has been public about the impact this had on their business. They refused to pay the ransom and so far, it has cost them £45million due to the operational challenges of losing access to all their systems.
As well as larger ransomware risks, everyday phishing scams can lead to financial loss for businesses or their employees on a daily basis.
On top of the financial implications, which in themselves, can be enough to topple a business, cybercrime can be a devastating blow for reputation and customer loyalty. When data breaches or hacks hit the headlines, it may damage a business’s reputation and subsequently impact future sales and growth.
For business owners, it is important to acknowledge these risks and implement cyber security systems to combat them, instead of simply hoping it will never happen to them.
Getting Started with Cyber Security
Cyber security can sound like a daunting task, especially for small businesses that may not have the luxury of a specialist IT security department. Below are some simple ways businesses can start to better prepare themselves for online attacks.
Awareness and Behaviour
Ensuring all your employees are following security best-practice is often overlooked. This is something that can dramatically reduce the risk of falling victim to digital attacks.
From understanding how to identify phishing scams, to ensuring all employees have 2-step authentication enabled on sensitive accounts, businesses can start to take simple but effective actions against cyber risks.
Monitoring and Updating Security Systems
Outdated systems and software can often create vulnerabilities within a business. Ensuring any software is up-to-date helps to mitigate against potential hackers relying on outdated software to gain entry into a system.
Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, working at home or in an office, in the cloud or on your server, the right firewall can provide the security, control and visibility you need to maintain effective cyber security.
Monitoring systems and actively checking for potential malware helps to leverage a proactive approach that fairs much better than a reactive approach when it comes to cyber security.
The official government backed scheme, Cyber Essentials, is a certification that helps educate and empower businesses with the information they need regarding cyber security.
There are 2 levels of certification, the first is a self-assessment, which is suitable for smaller organisations. The second includes an internal and external network scan that ensures your business is cyber safe.
Ongoing training and consultancy can help keep team members informed of the latest tips and strategies for staying safe online.
Protecting Sensitive Data
When it comes to data breaches and system vulnerabilities, not all data is as valuable. As a business, you need to ensure sensitive data is prioritised. Customer details, personal records and bank details, for example, could all be seen as valuable to a hacker who may try to extract these from your business.
Backing up your files is like paying for insurance. You’re only happy you paid the annual premiums when something goes wrong and you know ‘it’s OK, you’re covered”.
Don’t risk losing all your data should the worst happen. Taking the time to understand what data your business needs to function and making sure you have this backed-up is a vital component to business continuity.
For small businesses, the cost of hiring a specialist cyber security expert may be too costly, but this doesn’t mean reaping the benefits of expert knowledge and support is out of reach.
Using a trusted local IT consultancy helps to provide that expertise and advice when it comes to making technical decisions. We can carry out a system audit, identifying weaknesses in your network and suggesting the most appropriate IT hardware to bolster your defense.
Learn More About Three Cherries
Here at Three Cherries, we will create a cyber security strategy that matches your business and security objectives.
We will help take care of all the technical requirements of cyber security, as well as other areas of IT, so you can focus on your business. Based in Bristol, we are able to offer a very hands-on and supportive service for local businesses. Our team are on hand to help with whatever challenges you face. We are also able to provide guidance and top-level strategy to help grow and scale your business by having the right type of IT systems in place.
To learn more about us and our services, simply get in touch today.