Five essential steps to help keep your business safer from cyber crime

Author: Kieron Doyle

Cyber crime is creating real worries for businesses, particularly as the world moves into an even more focussed online direction. Although the online world brings incredible opportunities for companies to expand to global audiences, it also puts businesses at risk from cyber criminals.

Those who carry out cyber-attacks do so to steal information, data, and cause havoc on websites which can create serious issues for businesses. Having all your customer data stolen is not only a problem for business continuity, it is a breach of trust for your customers meaning they might well take their business elsewhere. A data breach could also land you in the courts.

All of this means being able to safely send emails, store data and run remote transactions, along with a secure website, are the key building blocks for all companies. There are also the areas where cyber criminals spot and find system weaknesses.

Here are five steps to help keep your business safer:

Step 1: Run a risk assessment

The first step you need to take to reduce the risk of cyber crime is to know exactly where the risks lie within your business. Where are the weak systems which these criminals could hack into? What impact would it have on the business if they succeeded? Identify which systems would cause the worst problems for the business if they were stolen or hacked into.

You need to consider: potential virus attacks, remote access, how vulnerable your website is, as well as any online systems like staff payroll – what would the impact be if your online bank was hacked, for example?

You need to risk assess any threats and identify where attacks could occur – you can then put in protective measures and systems in place.

Step 2: Examine your own knowledge

After identifying the potential risk areas, you need to take the next step which is to look at the knowledge and expertise which you have in-house to deal with the risks.

If you don’t have a large in-house team you need to examine where the business might benefit from outsourcing help from IT experts. It may be that you can combine in-house and expert solutions for the business.

However, if you don’t have an in-house IT team, then this is the time to call in the professionals, like our team at Clifton IT, where we can offer help and guidance on the most appropriate cyber security measures.

Step 3: Install and set up secure systems

The third step is to work alongside your IT team or external consultants to put together a cyber security plan. The plan needs to feature counter measures against every risk you identified. You can then install and set up the counter measures.

It’s really important to choose the right systems for your business and not to take short cuts. If you think it is inconvenient to have your systems updated then think about the inconvenience if your business were to be hacked.

Step 4: What about physical IT issues?

It is important to realise that not all cyber attacks occur remotely online via hackers. It is unfortunately all too easy for a third party, or staff member, accidentally or deliberately, to introduce a virus or spyware into your business using USB drives, memory cards, DVDs etc. Make sure your cyber security plan covers these problems and talk to your staff about it all.

Step 5: Explain the risks to staff

People are often the weakest point in a system to make sure all staff and contractors know and understand how to use your IT properly, and how to fit in with the new cyber security plan.

These five steps will help you to check the weaknesses and address cyber risks facing your business but it’s important to take direct action. If you need professional advice about preventing cyber-attacks please do give us a call at Clifton IT and our experts will work with you to develop a bespoke solution for your company.

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