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Protecting your business from cyberattacks

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A business owner faces daily challenges; the last thing one wants is to be hit with a cyberattack. This one has the potential to take the feet out from under your business if you don’t have the proper procedures in place.

In 2018, Hiscox said that UK small businesses were targeted with 65,000 attempted cyberattacks per day. That number has risen due to the increased digital climate due to COVID-19, with a 31% rise in cyber-attack incidents.

In this guide:

 

What is a cyberattack?

A cyberattack is an unauthorised, criminal attempt to disable, expose or gain information from a computer, multiple-computers or networks. The sophistication of cyberattacks is constantly changing and can affect any type of business.

TAB Member, Bellingham IT, advise that 60% of mid-sized businesses go bankrupt six months after suffering a cyberattack. Not protecting your business can end up costing you a lot of money. This isn’t to scare you, but to encourage you to tackle this issue sooner rather than later.

Different types of cyberattack

There are four commonly known types of cyberattack.

  •         Password Guessing (Brute Force) Attack
  •         Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS Attack)
  •         Malware Attack
  •         Phishing Attack

This Ultimate Guide to Cybersecurity by Hubspot gives a comprehensive overview of each type of attack and the measures you can take to protect yourself from them.

 

What is cybersecurity?

Definition of cybersecurity from NCSC: “Cyber security is how individuals and organisations reduce the risk of cyberattack. Cyber security's core function is to protect the devices we all use (smartphones, laptops, tablets and computers), and the services we access - both online and at work - from theft or damage. It's also about preventing unauthorised access to the vast amounts of personal information we store on these devices, and online.”

Okay, that might feel overwhelming but there are experts out there who can help. You can enlist an IT agency to help you with all the techniques and practices you need to put in place.

Ultimately, at the top-level, you should focus on how to create a cybersecurity culture within your business.

 

Four steps to create a cybersecurity culture

Creating a cybersecurity culture is the best thing you can do to protect your business. There are easy ways to improve your company culture but instilling the best practices for cybersecurity into your company culture is perhaps one of the most important things you can do.

Key Steps to Creating a Cybersecurity Culture

The top security risk for your business is human error. By developing a cybersecurity culture, you ensure your employees are given the knowledge they need to avoid different types of cybercrime.

  1.       Put cybersecurity measures in place

First things first, get your measures in place. Here are some examples of cybersecurity measures:

  •         Antivirus software
  •         Firewalls
  •         Single sign-ons (SSO)
  •         Two factor authentications
  •         Virtual private network (VPN).

As mentioned earlier, think about getting some external help to implement these measures. If you want a more detailed overview of best practices, there is this advice hub on the national cyber security centre’s website for SMEs.

  1.       Help employees escalate issues

Have you got a way that employees can let you know about a phishing email or compromised web page? Think about a system for these alerts such as an online form. Then, consider how you can communicate these updates across your business.

  1.       Organise regular cybersecurity training

You need to create a ‘human firewall’ on top of other security features. This ensures your staff understand how to spot suspicious looking emails, webpages, and activity. Therefore, organise regular cybersecurity training to ingrain this as part of your culture. This will cover everything from having strong passwords to data backups. Making sure your employees understand how important it is to be vigilant and reports issues early is paramount.

  1.       Create a cyber incident action plan

As part of the training, you can run cyber incident exercises, that allows your business to practice your response to a cyberattack in a safe environment. This infographic from the national cyber security centre is a fantastic resource to help you visualise how this can work.

Once you seek outside, expert help or clue yourself up on everything cybersecurity, you can ensure that cybersecurity is a key part of your staff’s everyday practice.

Also make sure you ask around and learn from the experience of others. This is a key part of what we do at TAB. We get business owners together to discuss business challenges in an open forum and safe space. Cybersecurity is certainly a common topic all our members discuss, and like with everything, our advisory boards provide recommendations and advice so that owners make the best decisions for their businesses. 

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