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What business executives need to know about Cyber Security

The topic of cyber security is still one that many businesses and individuals don’t deem as important, simply because they haven’t experienced an attack. The government is doing a lot to make people aware that they are at risk, but many believe that the subject is not important enough to warrant their time. The business environment is one that now relies on digital technology to function, and the benefits and opportunities always come with risks.

In order to effectively protect your business, it’s important to accept that breaches will happen, and to prepare accordingly. Just because you haven’t experienced an attack, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. The average cost to a small business for its worst security breach is estimated to be between £35,000 and £65,000. Are you really prepared to lose that much?

Purchasing security and allocating responsibilities is the first step to protecting your business. Most responsibility should be given to a manager or senior member of staff who has a broad view of the risks and how to battle them. Employees can often be the common most causes of incidents, usually by accident due to lack of knowledge and awareness of security. It’s vital to ensure that employees are aware of the risks and why security is important. Let them know how they can help, and provide a few training sessions and written policy documents.

Malicious activity can come from outside or inside your business. Outside attacks by hackers or competitors, can be protected against with a firewall. This is software or hardware that examines the computer communications going in and out of the business, and decided whether or not it’s safe to let through. It can also be used to manage internet activity, by blocking access to things such as chat sites where employees could come across security risks.

Inside attacks such as intentional damage by staff to the systems and information, can be protected against with something as simple as a password. Each individual should have a username and password, and therefore access to different areas can be limited to certain people. This also helps to prevent against further outside intrusions. It’s up to you whether password control for a given item should be basic or stronger, and who has access to what. Some people may be given access to nearly everything, in order to perform technical work, but you should keep these to a minimum.

Following the correct measures will help you protect against a major security breach, but no system is ever 100% secure. It’s worth making sure that you plan for the worst, knowing what to do if things go horribly wrong. Defining what is ‘major’ for you, such as something that prevents you providing your service, or performing vital functions, is an important first step. Then you can plan your next steps. What help is needed? Do customers or suppliers need to be made aware? Can other functions continue while your systems are repaired? Ensure that everyone’s responsibilities are clear in an emergency, and that everybody knows what the plan is.

Cyber-attacks can affect any business if the appropriate security measures are not put in place and tested on a regular basis. Yellowspring actively encourage businesses to review their security and ensure that they have a future proof strategy in place to safeguard their business against all forms of basic cyber crime.

Get in touch today to discuss what we can do to help protect your business against cyber-attacks.  Tel: 01268 494160 or email maria.west@yellowspring.co.uk

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