10 ways to protect your business from a cyber attack

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Cyber-attacks can have a catastrophic impact on a business. Alongside the financial impact a cyber security hack could have, leaks of data or company sensitive information could have long-term lasting impact on the reputation of a company.

A recent survey found that four out of ten businesses in the UK have, unfortunately experienced a cyber security hack in the past 12 months.

With hacks or the rise, it is important more so than ever to be vigilant while online. Here’s 10 tips that every business should incorporate to help stay safe from a cyber-attack...

  1. Install a firewall

A firewall can be your first defense against a cyber security breach – so it’s important to have a good one. Using predetermined security rules, a firewall will monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic to your business.

A Firewall creates that barrier between a trusted and untrusted network, potentially blocking malicious sites.

  1. Use secure passwords

While it may be easier to remember a simpler password, it also makes it easier for cyber security hacks to take place. Avoid using generic passwords and make your passwords difficult to guess by adding a mix of lower case, uppercase, letters and symbols. A good practice would also be to regularly change your password.

  1. Be smart online

Lots of hackers rely on human error to carry out their attacks. Stay smart when you are online. Be aware of popular scams like Phishing and baiting and always think before carrying out any actions online.

  1. Keep Software up to date

Hackers will rely on outdated software as a potential method of gaining access to a company's security information. Software notifications can be set to update automatically, or you can choose to update programmes overnight or during lunch breaks for minimal disruption to your working day.

  1. Limit access rights to sensitive information

Gone are the days where every employee had access to all the information within your company. Narrowing the amount of people who have access to confidential information, means the chances of an employee's sharing sensitive information or clicking a harmful link will dramatically decrease.

  1. Provide training for employees

All it takes for a cyber security breach is one person. Regardless of your size of organisation or what industry you're in, it’s important for employees to have a basic understanding of staying safe online. Provide mandatory training for employees to stay safe and educate your employees on the company protocols if they think they may have encountered a cyber security attack.

  1. Only visit trusted websites

Look at any recent website you have visited. Does it have a small padlock in the navigation bar? This means the site is SSL/TLS certified. SSL/TLS means that the website is using a security feature that encrypts the information between your browser and the server.

While a padlock in the navigation bar doesn’t mean a site is 100% safe, it’s essential to avoid sites who don’t have this icon.

  1. Invest in a VPN Server

VPN is a Virtual Private Network, the purpose of a VPN is to help you remain private while online. This means that your data is secure and encrypted. VPN works by replacing your businesses IP Address with the servers IP address when online, meaning that your personal data cannot be seen online.

  1. Use the tools available to help

With the advances in technology, many of our tools or software applications have features already built in to help prevent cyber-attacks. Make use of the spam settings on your emails to filter out any potentially harmful emails. Preventing these emails from coming into your inbox, decreases the risk of clicking on a harmful link.

  1. Develop a cyber security breach plan

Very few companies have put a well-rounded cyber security breach plan in place, simply because they don’t believe they will ever need one. If we look at many unfortunate cyber hacks that have taken place, organisations who didn’t have a response plan in place found the experience even more challenging.

Your plan may include a breakdown of what to do in the event of a cyber security hack, who is responsible for what actions and what will be the quickest method of getting the business secure again.

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