According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), smaller firms in the UK are collectively targeted seven million times a year – often because SMEs can act as gateways for attacks on the larger corporations they supply. All enterprises are vulnerable to hacking and fraud, as well as phishing emails and malware attacks.
Be Safe and Be Secure
Start your cyber security by making sure you only use trusted website sites and suppliers. One smart option for cyber security is to transfer to cloud-based services because cloud service suppliers take cyber security very seriously.
A good cloud-based service provider can help enterprises – big or small – to keep their data safe. However, enterprises, managers and team members need to play their part by ensuring their authentication processes, usernames and passwords are all strong. As a minimum, enterprises and managers can also secure their networks and wi-fi routers with firewalls, which help to lock down open ports in the network – the back doors often used by cyber attackers to introduce malware and other harmful software. Web application firewalls can also prevent attacks on specific applications.
Here are ten top tips for beefing up your enterprise’s cyber security:
Top Tip #1: Accept You Are A Target
Accept that you are an attractive target to hackers. If you think it will never happen to you and your organisation, YOU ARE WRONG!
Top Tip #2: Eight Characters Is Not Enough
Practice good password management. Use a strong mix of characters, and do not use the same password for multiple sites. Do not share passwords with others, do not write them down, and do not write them on post-it notes attached to your monitor. Finally, do not use the same password for more than one site – use multiple passwords.
Top Tip #3: Lock It Up
Never leave your portable devices unattended and ALWAYS LOG-OUT. If you need to leave your computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time – no matter how short log-out and lock it up so no one can use it while you are away. If you keep sensitive information on a flash drive or external hard drive, make sure to lock it up as well – better still use a cloud-based solution rather than USB drives.
Top Tip #4: Practice Safe Clicking
Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in email. If it is unexpected or suspicious for any reason, simply do not click on it.
Top Tip #5: Beware of Browsing
Sensitive or high-risk browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a device that belongs to you and on a network that you trust. Do not allow employees to surf the net for personal shopping on work devices and always avoid using free, public access wi-fi as data can easily be stolen.
Top Tip #6: Back It Up
Back up your data regularly, and make sure your anti-virus software is always up to date. Do not get caught out wishing that you had backed up, make sure you have a routine backing up-policy and that it is enforced.
Top Tip #7: Physical Cyber Safety
Be conscientious of what you plug in to your devices and make sure your employees understand this as well. Malware can be spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives, servers and even smartphones.
Top Tip #8: Share Less Sensitive Information
Be careful what you share, especially on social networks. Criminals can befriend you and easily gain access to a vast amount of data in seconds. Remember the more sensitive the data is, the more secure it needs to be.
Top Tip #9: Cut Out The “Middle Man”
Offline, make sure you and your employees are aware of something called “social engineering”. This is where someone attempts to gain information from you through deception and manipulation. If someone calls or emails asking for sensitive information, make it a rule to say no and then check with the company or the supplier directly to verify credentials before giving out any information. Fraudsters go to great lengths to make their emails and telephone calls look and sound authentic – remember that no genuine supplier would ever ask you for passwords, pin numbers and other sensitive data by phone or email.
Top Tip #10: Monitor Your On-line Accounts
Be sure to monitor your on-line accounts for any suspicious activity. If you order stationery on-line, use Amazon and use on-line banking, the moment you detect any unusual activity or anything unfamiliar, contact the supplier immediately as your data may have been compromised.
If you would like to learn more about cyber security, check out the Federation of Small Business report, Cyber Resilience: How to Protect Small Firms in the Digital Economy. You can also register on Exponential’s DiTEM e-learning course by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
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