Cyber security is one of the buzzwords in IT at the moment, often not only dominating the thoughts of IT professionals, but also the front pages of national newspapers and big websites. There’s no doubting the fact that using a professional company to protect your business from cyber-attacks is the best option to choose, however there are also some things you can do to increase your security as well.
A great place to start is by looking through the government’s pamphlet entitled Small Businesses: What You Need to Know About Cyber Security. If you don’t have time to read through this pretty long document though, we’ve condensed the five most important points for you, which you’ll find in the handy guide below…
Use Good Software
There are many great anti-virus software providers out there, ranging from McAfee through to Norton, and most of them will protect your computer extremely well. These do cost some money to use, however they are well worth it. After all, they could stop malicious attackers from stealing large amounts of money from you, or hijacking your computer.
Perhaps even more importantly, you must ensure that you download the updates provided by security providers as soon as possible. New viruses and hacking techniques are constantly being invented, and these updates will protect you from them. Even leaving the updates for a couple of days can make you incredibly vulnerable.
Make Your Passwords Strong
This is something that nearly everyone knows they should do, but it’s also something that very few people actually bother with. Weak passwords include those with only a few characters, and those featuring easily accessible personal information, and they’ll be worked out in no time at all by the better cyber criminals.
To ensure that your password is a strong one, make sure that it:
- Has a mixture of letters and numbers
- Is a random collection of characters, and not an actual word
- Uses special symbols if allowed
- Uses capital letters and lower case letters
- Is changed as regularly as possible
It is also common sense not to write all your passwords down on a document stored on your computer, as this is like giving a burglar the keys to your house, the PIN number to your bank card, and the keys to your car. If you absolutely have to write passwords down, use a pen and paper instead, and keep them incredibly safe.
Don’t Open Suspicious Emails
Sending out spurious emails is one way that criminals manage to get your details, or get you to download malicious software. The problem is this: spotting these malicious emails is now getting harder and harder, as the criminals are becoming more advanced and knowledgeable. So, to ensure that an email isn’t malicious, look at the URL it came from. Is it the URL of a company you’ve used before, or is it a random one? If it’s random, it’s best not to open it.
If you think an email is important, but simply don’t trust it, ring the people it supposedly comes from instead. Any bank, for example, will be able to tell you whether they’ve sent you an email. Also, remember that good companies will never ask you to part with account information in an email, so never give out things like passwords and personal information.
Train Staff Properly
You aren’t the only one who could let a virus infect your computers, as your staff are also vulnerable. Just one slip up from a staff member could cause an entire company’s IT system to suffer, so each and every one needs to know the risks, and how to combat them. The government offers free training programs to help with this issue, which can be a great way to improve your staff members’ knowledge.
Aside from the government’s training program, it is also worth getting an IT support professional to come and address staff members on a regular basis, such as the ones from Couno , who are industry leaders in the IT support field. so that they are aware of any new or developing threats. This, combined with anti-virus software, will create a great barrier for your business.
Use Common Sense!
This last one doesn’t take long to explain. When dealing with your IT, apply the same common sense and intuition you use in daily life. So, if something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t, and if you need to act on something, make sure you act as quickly as possible!
While the above tips are undoubtedly vital when it comes to keeping your business safe, they really should be complemented by employing a knowledgeable and experienced IT support company. They’ll work with you to protect your business, giving you huge peace of mind in the process.