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What is cybersecurity?’ If you run a start-up, small or medium-sized business in London (or, indeed, anywhere else) you need to know the answer to that question and find out how to protect your business from cyber attacks.

Look, we know you’re already busy enough and probably believe you’ve no systems worth damaging or information worth stealing, so why worry about how to protect your business from cyber attack. But once your company has a website and an e-mail account (both pre-requisites to successful commerce these days), you’re connected 24/7 to the online world and cyber attacks become a real and present danger to your business.

In fact, in 2019 research from consultants Ernst Young (EY) showed that CEOs from around the world believed cybersecurity was going to be the biggest threat to the global economy over the next decade.

And here in the UK in 2019, the government’s own Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport reported that around a third (32%) of the nation’s businesses, small London businesses included, had experienced cyber security attacks in the previous 12 months.

So in this blog post we’re going to help you better understand cybersecurity and give you five steps you can take now as to how your company can protect against hackers. Here’s what you’ll discover:

  • So what is cybersecurity?
  • Why your business could be vulnerable
  • Step 1: Make sure you have security software in place
  • Step 2: Check how your staff leave your business
  • Step 3: Adopt, implement and enforce best password practices
  • Step 4: Make cybersecurity a part of your company culture
  • Step 5: Look into managed IT services support
  • The actions you can take right now

So what is cybersecurity?

Our answer to the question is comprehensive but clear. ‘Cybersecurity is the practices, techniques and technologies you use to protect your company’s computers, servers, mobile devices, networks, programs and data from unauthorised access, malicious damage or attacks that have the aim of exploiting your confidential information or holding your organisation to ransom.’

Why your business could be vulnerable

Large, blue-chip enterprises have the cashflow and resources to be able to access fully trained and experienced in-house IT staff, a secure and protected location for the key elements of their structure (such as servers) and deploy leading edge security solutions.

Most small and medium sized-business simply cannot afford such assets – especially with all the expense of being based in London. The result is that you’re more likely to be the victim of a cybersecurity attack and less able to recover from one.

But when it comes to how to protect your company from cyber attack, there are five steps you can take to better defend your business, even with limited resources. Here they are:

Step 1: Make sure you have security software in place

Start by looking at your firewalls, antivirus software and encryption and endpoint detection response (EDR) solutions – they’re usually way more cost effective than the potential expense of a breach.

For all these security solutions, take a look at the way your business operates and its needs now and in the future. Then choose those solutions that best match, and can be most effectively configured to, those requirements.

Check for solutions that are scalable so they’re fast and easy to change and grow as your business does.

No security solution is 100% infallible so seek combinations of technical resources that deliver as much protection (and peace of mind) as possible when used together.

Finally, if you really want to understand how to protect your company from cyber attacks, please do install any updates provided for your solutions as soon as they become available. These patches are usually designed and distributed by the software vendor to fix any security weakness that they have identified.

Step 2: Check how your staff leave your business

Security breaches by disgruntled staff leaving a business are a common threat to that business. Many former employees are allowed to leave with security passes, login details and account access in hand.

So check your security practices around leavers to ensure you’re deleting their accounts as soon as they’re gone. And be sure that all equipment, from laptops to data drives and mobile devices are returned, checked and cleaned.

Finally, check shared logins but put in place a process so you don’t have to change everything every time your people change. A password manager can make this much easier for you and your team.

Step 3: Adopt, implement and enforce best password practices

When we’re asked ‘How can companies protect against hackers?’ we always say that ‘Passwords and passcodes should be a key part of your computer security defences!’

But sadly, according to a 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report by Verizon, 63% of of all breaches occurred due to lost, stolen or weak passwords.

To be at their most effective, passwords should be long and complex (with multiple character sets) but not use common or complete words.

What’s more, they should be changed regularly. In fact, have your team set reminders to do so. And note that shared passwords or those used in multiple places are most vulnerable to attack.

To make it fast and easy for your people to create, remember, use and share strong passwords, consider a password manager.

Step 4: Make cybersecurity a part of your company culture

Your people – however inadvertently – are usually your business’s weakest link when it comes to computer security. That’s because there are a number of cyber threats out there relying on one of your team being fooled by a genuine looking but spoofing e-mail, link to a dodgy domain or even a Google two factor authentication form.

So your team needs to be trained in ways to protect your company from cyber attacks. They need 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.

Two factor authentication – where a user is granted access to your systems only after correctly presenting two or more pieces of identity information – can help but isn’t foolproof, so common sense should always be applied to any perceived threat.

Step 5: Look into managed IT services support

As we said right at the beginning of this post, as a small to medium-sized London-based business you probably haven’t the time or resources to protect your business against every online cybersecurity threat.

But with cyber criminals and their activities evolving rapidly to become ever smarter and more difficult to spot and stop, this is a war of attrition you cannot afford to lose.

So partner up with a managed IT services provider in London who can rapidly put the odds back in your favour. They will support you with the kind of cybersecurity manpower, services and technologies much larger enterprises take for granted.

A good managed IT service provider can recommend, install and maintain the very lastest cybersecurity technologies across your IT infrastructure, keep those technologies fully updated and provide 24/7/365 monitoring and immediate threat response. This should keep your network, devices, people, confidential data and customer information safe.

What’s more, a managed service provider in London is likely to be an affordable option via agreed monthly payment plans. They will also scale the support they provide as your business grows and can help you achieve accreditation to the latest global data security legislation, such as the European Union’s (EUs) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The actions you can take right now

As you’ve seen there are at least five actions you can take immediately to help prevent your business from becoming a victim of a cyber attack. That’s right from making sure your security software is effective, auditing your staff off-boarding process and implementing a best practice password policy to creating a security culture and finding a managed IT services provider here in London.

With regard to that last action, why not talk to the expert, experienced and award-winning team here at Totality Services? We’ve earned Five Star customer service ratings from TrustPilot, Feefo and Google and become the go to IT support team for London. Simply call us for a confidential, no obligation chat about your requirements.

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