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Why should small businesses care about cyber security?

Why should small businesses care about cyber security?

6th April 2017

Cyber security. Something that only affects bigger businesses, right? Databases hacked, personal details leaked, you’ve heard about it on the news, from companies such as Yahoo, LinkedIn and ABTA for example.

As a small business, with a few employees, a handful of computers, laptops or mobiles, surely I’m not of interest? What do they want from me? I’ve not got enough money to make it worth their while. These are the kind of things we’ve had said to us by small businesses in the past.

Our response?

WRONG!!

Incidents of cyber crime are fast rising, and it’s not just something affecting businesses with huge turnovers. In 2015, businesses lost over £1bn through cyber crime – a 22% increase on the year before. A 2016 report from Symantec found that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses. Criminals find them an easy target due to the fact they tend to be unprotected and leave themselves open to be raided.

Criminals are getting cleverer. They’re trying different ways in which to try and extort money or personal details from a company. The most common way businesses suffer is by criminals hacking into a company’s computer or server to obtain bank details or personal information to sell on.

However, this is just the beginning. For example, criminals can hijack files or an entire network with ransomware so that businesses can’t access anything until a fee is paid, and the files are released back to the company. This situation seems to be one favoured by a lot of criminals at the moment, more instances are being reported than ever before.

Although the financial rewards may be less than the likes of Yahoo, the effort to get into systems is far less, so they just repeat it again and again, with no thought to the devastation left behind. If the security systems are too difficult, then they’ll move onto their next target.

There are essentially two ways to protect your business. One is protecting the technology, installing back-up systems, prevention software, etc. We’ll discuss these in a future blog, as there are a number of things that can be done that don’t have to break the bank.

The other is education. There are a number of ways in which criminals encourage employees to hand over details to people who they think are genuine, from the bank or other institutions, for example. Again, criminals are becoming increasingly clever and convincing about how they do this, they’ll resort to tactics like giving the person a number to ring, and then staying on the line while they ring the number back, to check whether the call is genuine. Clever, or what?

This way is harder to prevent, but it is a case of being vigilant and providing training. Again, we will go through the ways in which you, as an employer, can help to protect the business.

But the message we want you to take away from this is that cyber crime is a very real problem for small businesses, and cyber security needs to be top of your priority list. We often get called in after the deed has been done, and we have seen the devastation that criminals cause, so much so, that sometimes the business is forced to close.

It can strike at any time, so the only solution is prevention. And we’ll tell you how to do that, just please, ensure you take action, now.

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