The 2017 Cyber Security Attack Survey published by the UK government revealed that 46% of UK businesses had faced a cyber-attack within the last 12 months. Google and McAfee estimate there are 2,000 cyber-attacks every day around the world, costing the global economy about £300bn ($460bn) a year. If you are a business owner the reality is that you will face cyber-security threats, but your ability to withstand an attack is dependent on how prepared you are. The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself:
1. Understand your business and your risks. Questions to ask include whether your team use strong passwords and different passwords for each system? Do you back up your data and how do you know if you have an intruder trying to steal it? If you sell online, how secure is your site? Do you have the right support contracts in place to get you back up and running quickly if the worst should happen? Are your firewall, anti-malware and encryption packages up to date? Finally, do you hold any personal data and if you do, can you demonstrate that you have the right technology and organisational measures in place to secure it?
2. Be informed. Keep up to date with the latest trends in cyber-security and where the emerging threats are. The tactics used by cyber criminals change regularly and are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Question everything, particularly when money or sharing any information is involved.
3. Consider Cyber Essentials. This standard is aimed at small businesses and is designed to be simple but effective. The cost of accreditation is low and can be valuable as competitive advantage when bidding on new contracts.
Other sources of help:
- The National Cyber Security Centre site for small business is an excellent source of advice.
- Business in the Community have an online test to assess how prepared you are for an online attack.