Start by taking cybersecurity seriously

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If you check our Twitter and Linkedin accounts regularly, you’ll see that we are constantly highlighting how important it is to keep your data safe from hackers. You might think that your SME is not large enough to be of interest to a hacker but everyone is a potential target.

Large businesses are often selected as targets because they have a large amount of capital and their customer database may not be as secure as it should be. However, cybersecurity is also about people, not just the IT that you use. It won’t matter if you have the most expensive security system in the world if employees are using ‘admin’ as their password! This can leave sensitive data ripe for the taking. As cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated it’s not a question of if, but when!

Last December, Gloucester City Council discovered that its systems had been breached and many of its online services were affected. The costs to the council in dealing with the recovery from the cyber-attack have been more than just financial. Council services have been affected. The financial implications to the council are  not yet known but estimates put the final repair bill at more than £630,000.

The National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Security Centre are now working with the council after the breach, which has been linked to Russian hackers. When the full costs of the breach are known, the council will need to use earmarked reserves, which could further affect services in Gloucester.

More recently, hackers are feared to have stolen customers’ personal information in a cyber-attack on Isle of Wight ferry company, Wightlink. The possible breach was reported to police and the Information Commissioner’s Office. The company is now ‘taking appropriate security measures’ to ensure that its back-office IT systems are safer and is working with the  South East Regional Organised Crime Unit.

With more and more people working from home since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in digital threats where data has been moved or transferred from devices unlawfully – either by the cybercriminal or malware.

Millions of people all over the world use Google and Amazon. However, many individuals and SMEs rely on these companies for their business so it makes it even more dangerous and destructive when one of these companies experiences a security breach, where an individual or group gains unauthorised access to a computer system or private network. Hackers can steal, destroy, or tamper with the information in whatever way they wish. Using ransomware, cybercriminals can ‘lock’ an organisation out of their own systems demanding large amounts of money in payment for restoring access.

Whether your business is big or small, cybersecurity starts with educating your employees on what they can do to protect themselves and your company. Having policies and processes in place will demonstrate how sophisticated cybercriminals can be and will stop your employees from clicking on links that could be creating back doors for hackers.

Weak passwords are still a soft route into your data for hackers and, these days, it’s not easy to keep track of all the passwords needed to access computers, mobiles, tablets. You can take the burden of password creation away from your teams and install a password manager. This is an inexpensive piece of software that will generate complex passwords that access your network and store them in an encrypted database.*

You should also consider using Two Factor Authentication which requires that you need something else in addition to your password to log in. For example, this may be a security code which is sent to your mobile or emailed to an additional email address. It’s an extra layer of security.

Start by taking cybersecurity seriously now and contact us if you’d like us to help you to navigate the world of cyber – our aim is to turn cyber complexity into cyber confidence and to help your business to grow safely.

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