We doubt that one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2020 was to learn the 5 steps you must take now to protect your small business from cybersecurity attacks. But for every London-based small to medium-sized business there’s never been a more important time to learn how to protect your company from cyber attacks.
A 2018 study by business insurer Hiscox, found that small businesses are targeted by an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber-attacks every day across the UK – at an average cost of £25,700 per attack – and one in three of this nation’s small businesses suffered a breach that year. It gets worse, an estimated 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses and one enterprise is successfully hacked every 19 seconds.
Note: all the above figures relate to 2018. Here in 2020 at the start of a new decade, the dangers could hardly be more serious as the quantity, efficacy and sophistication of cyber criminals evolves. Plus your own use of always-on Internet-based technologies (such as Cloud computing) and vulnerable mobile devices increases year on year.
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Why you must protect your small business from cybersecurity attacks
If you think you don’t have to know how to protect your small business from cybersecurity attacks because you don’t have systems worth hacking or information worth stealing, you’re not alone. It’s reckoned that only 39% of UK small businesses have a policy covering cyberattacks, just 25% give their staff cybersecurity training and as few as 14% have cybersecurity management policies.
When we’re asked ‘How can companies protect against hackers’ we often answer that it’s not just the technical or financial cost you need to worry about. A cybersecurity attack can inflict on your hard-earned reputation and base of loyal customers could mean the end of your enterprise. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance in the USA, 60% of small and medium-sized hacked businesses go out of business within six months.
So, in this blog post we’re going to describe the 5 essential steps you must now take to protect your company from cybersecurity attacks. The good news is that many of these steps are virtually free to implement or, at least, are far cheaper than the cost of a security breach. Here’s what you’ll discover:
- Start with password best practice throughout your organisation
- Implement a regular patching and update schedule
- Implement – or improve – cybersecurity training
- Partner with a managed IT services provider in London
- Don’t delay – act now
Start with password best practice throughout your organisation
We know that we all bemoan the number, complexity and difficulty of remembering the passwords that dominate our modern lives. But it’s reckoned that 80% of all hacking-related data breaches are successful because of non-existent, compromised or weak credentials, such as passwords.
Chances are, even when you think your business is following best industry practice for password strength and the frequency with which you update them, you’re not. Remember: any security chain is only as strong as it’s weakest links – and your weakest links will almost certainly be your people (however unintentionally) and poor password protocols.
So, make sure you team know and follow the industry best practice for passwords. Put simply, that means a different password for every site and application; long, random combinations of letters, numbers and symbols plus multi-word passphrases.
Again, we know that remembering all of your passwords and sharing accounts among all the people on your team who need to access them can create some challenges. So we recommend utilising a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. In fact, in a small business where everyone’s probably wearing several hats, a password manager can be a time and hassle saver.
Implement a regular patching and update schedule
The Internet of Things (IoT) – where more and more devices in our lives are connected to the web, from watches to printers and home security cameras to central heating controllers – is now a reality. And each one of those connected devices is a point of weakness; a potential place of entry for an attack.
So, implement a regular patching and update regime across your organisation and devices. These patches and updates are often designed and delivered by your software, application or system vendor to fix already identified security weaknesses. It’s lunacy not to install them to ensure every device connected to your network is operating in its most robust state.
This can be a sizeable addition to your team’s work – many small and medium-sized businesses don’t have dedicated IT staff – so it’s worth finding one of London’s managed IT services providers to help. We talk about this option in more detail below.
Implement – or improve – cybersecurity training
As we said above, when it comes to cybersecurity your business’s weakest link is usually your people. It’s not their fault, as the threats become ever more numerous and sophisticated, they become ever more difficult to spot and stop.
For example, cyber criminals are increasingly using attacks (such as spearfishing) that rely on your people being fooled by a genuine looking but spoofing e-mail, link to a dodgy domain or even a Google two factor authentication form. That’s why regular, thorough and effective cybersecurity training for all your people is mission-critical.
Train your team to look out for any suspicious activity, think before they click or open anything and, if in doubt, check: even to the point of calling the sender to be sure.
What’s more, as the threats evolve, so must your training. In this way, your employees become an important part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Partner with a managed IT services provider in London
We know that most small businesses won’t have the resources in-house – such as a professional IT team, a secure IT room or state of the art defence technology – to keep their enterprise safe against every cybersecurity threat.
But find a trusted, expert and experienced managed service provider here in London and you have access to a team of professionals who specialise in looking after your IT infrastructure and network security, and all usually for an affordable monthly budget.
They can support your IT and business in many ways. These range from the 24/7 network security monitoring and threat detection we’ve been discussing here, to ensuring you’re using the leading edge solutions and industry best practices that will transform your core business processes and drive you on toward success.
In addition, you can let them focus on keeping your IT, network, people, IP and confidential customer information safe, so that you can focus on key tasks and running your business.
You can imagine the business continuity confidence and peace of mind this gives you and your team.
Don’t delay – act now
It’s no exaggeration to say that cybersecurity attacks are becoming more numerous, more sophisticated, more difficult to spot and stop, more expensive to recover from and more often than not directed at the UK’s – including London’s – small and medium-sized business community.
We believe 2020 is the year you should meet these threats head-on and win, because cybersecurity is a war of attrition you cannot afford to lose. As we mentioned above, research from the USA suggests 60% of small and medium-sized hacked businesses go out of business within six months.
You need your entire team to understand and be aware of what’s at stake and what they can do about it. And as we’ve said, there are several steps you can undertake starting from today to put the odds back your side. These include using industry best practices for passwords, committing to a device patching and upgrading schedule, improving your cybersecurity training and getting help from a managed service provider in London.
Why not make all this easy on yourself, your team and your business and go straight to action point 4 above – partner with London’s leading managed IT services provider in London, totality!
We’re expert, experienced, award-winning and with Five Star customer service ratings from Feefo, TrustPilot and Google we’ve become the go to IT support team for London. Simply call us for a confidential, no obligation chat about your requirements.