Cyber security is one of the buzzwords in IT, often dominating the thoughts of IT professionals and the front pages of national newspapers and big websites. There’s no doubting 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.
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 antivirus software providers out there, ranging from McAfee through to Norton, and most of them will protect your computer exceptionally 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. If you want to go a step beyond, consider upgrading to a service like managed cyber security from Foresite where they handle everything from detection and response to a full security operations center.
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 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 cybercriminals.
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 to your bank card, and the keys to your car. If you 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 getting 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 essential, but 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 a good company 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 is also vulnerable. Just one slip up from a staff member could cause an entire company’s IT system to suffer, so everyone 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 to support professional to regularly address staff members, such as the ones from Couno. They are industry leaders in the IT support field. So that they are aware of any new or developing threats, this, combined with antivirus software, will create an excellent barrier for your business.
Use Common Sense!
This last one doesn’t take long to explain. So, if something doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t, and if you need to act on something, make sure you work as quickly as possible! When dealing with your IT, apply the same common sense and intuition you use in daily life.
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 massive peace of mind in the process.