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Keep ahead of hackers

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You wouldn’t leave your company’s confidential information or a customer’s bank details lying around for an opportunist thief to snatch. But if you are storing this data online and neglecting your cyber security that could be just what happens.

The past year saw the cost of hacking to UK businesses triple. The government’s 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey found that 87% of small businesses, and 93% of large businesses, had reported at least one cyber breach. These breaches resulted in costs of up to £65,000 for small businesses, and up to £850,000 for larger firms. This could be due to hackers or human error – but all resulted in leaving client’s data vulnerable to theft or misuse. The cost to the reputation of those companies is anyone’s guess.

So it is all the more surprising that a BT Survey (BT Cyber Security Research, Feb 2014) found just 17% of business leaders see cyber security as a major priority. Despite most firms recognising that staff best practice is a major way to prevent IT security breaches, on 37% have trained managers in cyber safety.

On a single day this month – Tesco lost 2000 customer details. So it is clear that Tesco, with its high security budget is vulnerable. What chance to SME’s have? It is a surprisingly large of businesses that aren’t taking these simple steps, yet will give your business a solid foundation to build on:

  1. Talk about security with staff and create a culture where everyone cares about it.
  2. Always use good passwords and don’t reuse them in different places.
  3. Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software, and don’t click on links or attachments in emails you weren’t expecting.
  4. Remember to protect other staff devices (like smartphones) too.
  5. Prepare for a disaster and make a recovery plan, for your own peace of mind.