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Cyber Security: Tips for Best Practice

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Secure Passwords

To put things into perspective as to how many online transactions take place every day, a study conducted recently by Capgemini and PNB Paribas found that digital transactions (involving an online payment method) are expected to reach a staggering 726 billion by 2020… that’s just around the corner!

And that’s just online purchasing – there are hundreds of millions of other online transactions taking place every hour, day, week and so forth that involve transfer of data, information, documents, content and more.

So even for individuals or small businesses, taking cyber security seriously is essential.

Don’t think for one second that because your business is ‘just an SME’ that you’re unlikely to become a target – recently the United States Congressional Small Business Committee found that ‘71% of cyber-attacks happened at businesses with fewer than 100 employees’.

So how do you go about protecting yourself? Here are our top tips to stay safe online, no matter what transactions you’re doing.

  • Firewalls as the first barrier, Anti-Malware as a second

The first line of defense for any decent security system is a proper firewall – an external firewall that creates a barrier between your data and cybercriminals, as well as additional internal firewalls, especially when there are employees who work remotely, is essential.

To add another layer, you need to ensure that you install anti-malware software – most cyber attacks involve installing malware on a computer through links clicked online or email. A strong anti-malware programme will help prevent these attacks from happening.

  • Articulate and document your policies clearly

To ensure that all your staff are aware of, and understand the risks and mitigation processes within your company’s Cyber Security policy, ensure that you have the policy well-documented, easily accessible and directly communicated to your staff. Hold regular sessions to communicate any updates, changes or advances, and ensure that these are updated in all policy documentation as well.

  • Take all devices into account

Interconnected wearable devices, mobile phones and tablets are all excellent communication devices that can receive information and data in a work context. They are thus also subject the security protocols of the business, and most be included in any planning and implementation of security protocols, for example, password change/update policy.

  • Implement a regular ‘Change Password’ policy

It may well be a minor irritation for your employees to have to change their password regularly, but it remains an easy-to-implement and highly-effective way to improve security. If your staff protest, let them know that in 2016, Verizon produced a Data Breach Investigations Report which found that “63 percent of data breaches happened due to lost, stolen or weak passwords.” Food for thought indeed!

  • Added layers of identification

It’s an increasingly popular method to raise security levels, and one that can easily be implemented: multi-factor identification. A good example of such a system would be a login/password combination supported by a PIN sent to a user’s mobile phone – this has become especially popular and effective across online retailers and banking sites, and adds an excellent layer of security to these transactions.

For guidance and advice on installing, upgrading or assessing your cyber security, contact one of our friendly staff today.