In our last post, we looked at some of the more basic ways you and your organisation can protect yourself from the growing threat of cyber breaches.

We noted that the UK Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018 states that 43% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber breach in the past 12 months – yet only 20% offered cyber security courses to employees in that period.

And we gave some tips on “first principles” steps you can take towards creating a “security first” culture within your organisation.

Here are some more tips to help you on your way:

• Handle your data with the respect it deserves

What is it that hackers want when breaching your network? Quite simply, data. It could be that they want your customers’ banking details, your organisation’s private data or it could even be an attack under “ransomware” where you could be blackmailed to pay money to make the problem go away.

Whatever the reason, a first step has to be to make it as difficult as possible for malicious players to acquire your data. Securing your data is a start, but you can also make data effectively useless, if it should be acquired by those with malicious intent.

This means encryption. Most operating systems these days come with the potential to encrypt all data, or you might consider third-party software, particularly for especially sensitive data. Speak to your IT department to find the best solution for your organisation and needs.

And have a robust system for backing-up data, ideally daily. A common feature of ransomware is to lock organisations out of their data until a release fee is paid. If you back-up all your data and – crucially – store it separately, you minimise your exposure to this shakedown.

• Invest in firewall and malware protection software

One of the most common forms of cyber security attacks is through malware infection, with research stating that it accounts for around half of all such attacks. And ransomware, a specific type of malware, is commonly identified as the greatest cyber security risk to small businesses.

Anti-virus is an essential protection, and in many cases is featured in the operating system of your computer. But viruses today change so often that standard anti-virus tools are often unable to keep up. It may pay to invest in a firewall – a type of software or even physical barrier between your office and the outside world. Take any update notifications seriously – they are often added in response to new malware and ransomware threats, so treat them with respect.

Check out our cyber security courses here.

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