An SMEs Guide to Cyber Security
It’s not uncommon for business owners to assume their important data is safe and secure. Many believe they’re too small to be targeted. However, it’s this kind of thinking that makes small businesses so vulnerable. Cyber-criminals will target anyone with data that they can leverage or sell. That’s why a survey by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) revealed that 42% of small businesses have been the victims of digital crime.
Many businesses are not adequately protecting themselves, despite the risks posed by cyber threats:
- 31% don’t update their antivirus software
- 34% don’t have firewall protection
- 14% don’t have any cyber protection
“Keeping online information secure is vital. A security breach could put you out of action and cost you money, which can be fatal for smaller businesses that have very little time and money to spare.” – Mark Farrar, Chief Executive, AAT.
In a post entitled “Everything you need to know about cloud storage”, we recently wrote about the rise of cybercrime and the threat it poses businesses. The evidence is there. Regardless of your business’ size, you can be targeted. So what can you do to protect the data that means the most to you?
Our Guide to Cyber Security for SMEs
For starters, we recommend using strong passwords wherever possible. Especially on sensitive information. A password’s strength depends on; the different types of letters, numbers and miscellaneous characters that you use, the complete length of the password, and whether or not the password can be found in a dictionary. Ideally, your passwords should be at least 8 or more characters long and should contain a mixture of letters and numbers. If you want to know how strong your passwords are, you can use this safe and easy password checker from Microsoft.
Be wary of suspicious websites
It goes without saying that it’s important to be careful which webpages you visit and what items you download. Should you really be going on that webpage at work? Perhaps not. You probably shouldn’t be going on that webpage at home either. All you have to do is download something at home, place it onto a USB drive and bring it into work. As soon as you plug that infected USB drive into your computer, you’ve compromised the whole network. That’s why we recommend using WeTransfer, a secure and free cloud-based file transfer service. Just upload your file, type in your recipient’s email address and click send. Ping! It’s that easy. WeTransfer only minimises the risk of an infected USB drive being used at work. To protect your computer against dangerous files, you need an antivirus program.
Install an antivirus
Sending large files online can, of course, be difficult, particularly if you haven’t yet upgraded to superfast broadband. In any case, you should always scan any USB drives and external hard drives with your antivirus software. A must-have for all businesses, 3rd party antivirus programs also automatically receive regular updates. So, you have one less thing to worry about. Antivirus acts as the first defence on your physical machine, but it can be more effective to stop cyber-attacks from reaching you in the first place.
Anti-Spam Email Server
That’s because 91% of hacking attacks start with phishing (or spear-phishing) attacks. It may sound strange, but phishing attacks are emails that appear to be from trusted senders. They pretend to be someone you might know or a company that you’ve heard of. But they’re not. These emails will usually include a rogue link or worse, a dangerous attachment. Unfortunately, all you have to do is open the email. That’s it. Open the email and you’re infected. As a result, 91% of hacking attacks are completely avoidable.
This is where a dedicated hosted anti-spam server comes into play. It filters out spam and dodgy emails, keeping your computer safe before it’s even in danger. Hopefully, you’ll never have to email IT support ever again. Unless you want to. Because you can.
We’re always here, 24/7, to keep everything running in ship-shape.
We offer IT support, cloud support, network support… The list goes on. If we supply it, we support it. Whether you’ve got a simple niggle or we’re stopping an error from occurring by proactively monitoring all of our services, we’re always there to keep everything working. We don’t leave you hanging. We don’t avoid your calls. We’re not that kind of company. We do however take on challenges other IT companies would shy away from.
That’s why when we say Synextra is an IT services provider with a difference, we mean it. We offer a range of cloud IT and virtual telecommunications services to help your business compete, collaborate and grow. Safely and securely. Have you got something else to add to our Guide to Cyber Security? Get in touch to find out what we can do for your business. Call: 0161 883 1383 or send us an email and a member of our support team will get back in touch shortly.
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