The media seems to be awash with stories about organisations that have shown gross incompetence in protecting their customers’ data. Yahoo! is the latest conglomerate to come under fire, as it was revealed this September that at least 500 million accounts were compromised, all the way back in 2014.
Clearly, large organisations are a prime target for hackers, but increasingly their attention is turning to SMEs too. Using recent news and our own experiences as a cautionary tale, let’s explore how you can step up your own cyber security.
Password best practices
As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, passwords are proving ever more vulnerable. Even strong combinations of letters, symbols and numbers can fall into the hands of the wrong people.
This is why the Yahoo! attack was so devastating: many people use the same password for multiple accounts, meaning that if your data is taken hostage, every other account using the same details will be open to siege too.
Of course, it would be impossible to remember a dedicated code for each account. Tools like Lastpass and Keepass not only generate unique passwords; they also store them centrally so that you can automatically fill out the relevant fields when logging into your favourite sites.
Supported anti-virus software
It’s well known that anti-virus software is an essential companion to your IT systems, but what happens when malware is flagged up? To safeguard your network and ensure that threats are identified and resolved as quickly as possible, it’s a wise idea to invest in IT support that includes anti-virus monitoring.
So often we hear stories from people who thought they were protected as they had anti-virus software installed. However, because they didn’t act upon a popup, or realise that their software had stopped running, they have fallen foul of malware.
Our remote monitoring service gives you peace of mind that your anti-virus checks are up to date, while ensuring that anything suspicious is dealt with before it becomes a problem. This extra layer of security can be worth its weight in gold for businesses that rely heavily on their IT systems.
Secure back-up solutions
Prevention is inevitably better than cure, but often business owners don’t think to safeguard their systems until it’s too late. Or perhaps they do have the foresight to put a backup in place, but don’t consider how it will work should the worst happen.
We saw this first-hand with a recent call for help: all of the company’s data had been encrypted by ransom-ware. This shouldn’t have presented a major problem, as the company had taken the precaution to back up their data. However, as the back-up system was located on the same network, this had been taken ransom too.
We still come across people backing up to USB drives, because they cost pennies to mass produce; a 1 terabyte USB drive can be bought for less than £50. Some leave them on-site, some take them home, some get lost, some failed months ago… but they still carry out the same daily routine.
What value do you put on your data? What value do you put on your business? When evaluating your answers, consider:
That’s why our back-up service stores data off site as copies in multiple locations. Instead of simply replacing old files as they are updated, we save revisions as new files, meaning we can essentially go back in time to recover information in the event of an incident. It’s one just of the ways in which we protect our clients’ data from accidents and attacks.
Cyber security is something that businesses can no longer afford to ignore. And while the cost of recovering from a cyber attack can be crippling, it’s surprisingly straightforward to step up your security measures.
For more information about cyber security, give Steven Allan a call on 0800 612 7125. Alternatively, fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.