Anyone with half an eye on the news in recent months will have noticed the increased spate of cyber attacks taking place. A recent report from the Association of British Insurers noted that 74% of SMEs are reported to have suffered a security breach in the past 12 months alone.
What does this have to do with me, you might ask? You work for yourself. You don’t have to worry about multinational IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Individual workers are often the weakest link in the security chain. A recent IBM investigation noted that 95% of cyber security breaches are down to human error. With cyber crime quickly becoming a multifaceted, dynamic and constantly evolving threat to security it’s imperative that you protect yourself.
Most small business owners don’t take cyber security seriously. They think that their business is too small to attract the attention of a hacker. That laissez-faire attitude, however, is exactly the reason why 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses – hackers are aware that most SMEs don’t invest in cyber security. How can you protect your business from attacks? Here are a few of our top tips:
Update your passwords
We know that updating your passwords can be annoying. With so many to keep track of, the temptation to have one and be done with it is strong. But why not use a password management tool like LastPass? It’ll manage all your passwords (and even suggest better ones) so you don’t have to.
Strong passwords are imperative. Avoid using personal information (birth dates, names of children and so on) and try and mix letters, numbers, and symbols. You should try and aim for at least 8 characters too.
Keep your eye on the ball
Keeping an eye on the cyber side of your business when you’ve got enough on your plate already can seem like one chore too many. However, it could make the difference when it comes to keeping your business running smoothly.
Our advice? Make sure your systems are monitored and tested for potential gaps in security on a monthly basis – don’t leave it until your data has already been breached. Keep your software up-to-date, invest in good anti-virus software, and try making your business more secure by adding multi-factor authentication to any networks or email accounts.
One more thing – don’t wait too long. When an update or a patch becomes available for software you use, make sure to install it as soon as possible. The sooner you protect yourself, the harder it’ll be for hackers to come after you.
Speak to someone in the know
Keeping costs down is an important part of running a small business. But there are some areas where you need to invest. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, it’s a good idea to hire an IT professional who can find any vulnerabilities in your system and make sure you have the right procedures and threat assessments in place.
Paying a consultant may be costly, but it’s a great investment. Think of it this way: if you sprung a leak in the kitchen and your home started filling up with water, would you try and fix it all by yourself? It’s unlikely. You’d call an expert.
Most of us don’t know the first thing about plumbing. The same principle applies to cyber security. The right person will be able to advise you, and assist with, the best course of action to protect yourself against cyber attacks.
Get the right insurance in place
Having cyber insurance in place as a small business is essential. You can hope that security breaches won’t happen, and you can do your best to ensure that they don’t, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your business is covered. If there’s a security breach and your company is held liable, you could end up having to pay out huge sums to cover costs and damage.
Our Cyber Liability cover includes protection against business interruption, cyber extortion and ransom, as well as assistance with system and data rectification and cover for regulatory defence and penalties. Alongside that you’ll also have access to ReSecure, a dedicated 24-hour helpline and specialist cyber incident report service.
Want to know more? Take a look here. If you’re interested in adding Cyber Liability cover to your existing policy just give one of our expert customer service team a call on 01242 808740.