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Cybersecurity: How to Keep Your Company Safe

October 03, 2017 Sarah Challis Articles

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With cybersecurity and privacy being one of the top tech challenges for organizations, it is important to know how your company can stay safe and secure. Recent research shows that 66% of tech leaders believe that the level of internet security threats has increased in the last year, driven by ransomware.

According to a report by Hiscox, small businesses lose an average of $41,000 per cyber security incident. And what’s worse, 60% of small business can expect to be hacked once yearly. Often, small-to-medium enterprises do not set up appropriate security measures when they first establish the business and then unfortunately, fail to keep up-to-date with IT risks when the business grows.

Cybercrime is expected to cost companies a shocking $1.9 trillion globally by 2019, and making the United States ‘cyber safe’ is a multi-dimensional long-term challenge faced by the government.

IT security threats should be taken seriously because they can have a considerable impact on your company. For example, Yahoo’s stock took a huge dive when it was announced that 1 billion accounts had been compromised in a data breach. There are also other non-financial impacts to take into account when evaluating the effect of a security breach; internal processes, customer data, and loss of company reputation.

 

As a growing business, how can you protect yourself from cyber risks?

  • Be aware of evolving risks. Know the current and emerging risks.
  • Allocate an appropriate budget to fight cyber attacks. In recent years, small businesses have been cutting spending on security whereas large businesses have been increasing it; make sure you spend enough to protect your company.
  • Use your telephone to confirm financial activity. Confirming by telephoning gives you two-step authentication and makes fraud significantly less likely.
  • Employee training. Create security protocols that are part of your company’s corporate culture, your staff are your first line of defence.
  • Limit physical access to data. Lock cupboards and storage rooms with data storage or information, such as laptop cupboards.
  • Turn to the cloud. Business-class cloud storage gives you the proper protection for your information.
  • Update your company’s software. Ensure that you are using the latest versions of software, especially anti-virus and security applications.

The 11 Most Critical Protections Every Business Must Have in Place to Protect Themselves from Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Remember to follow best practice guidelines for passwords

Did you know that 90% of all passwords can be cracked within seconds? The unfortunate stories you hear of someone's account being broken into are often caused by an easy-to-create-and-remember password. In addition, many people use the same password twice, or multiple times for various services (Facebook, email, cloud storage); this can be a real trap because all your login information and forgotten password links arrive in your inbox.

Did you know?

  • '123456' is still the most commonly used password (on 17% of computers)
  • The top 25 passwords that were used last year made up more than half of the 10 million passwords analyzed.
  • Most passwords are too short; long passwords always win. They are harder to work out, simply because of the length.

Best practice guidelines for creating a strong password:

  1. Create a complex but memorable sequence of words and/or letters; you can use a phrase or a series of letters that is seemingly random but nevertheless easy to remember. The easily memorized series of letters can form a "base word" to which you should add symbols or numbers.
  2. Use at least 1 letter, number, and special character in your password
  3. Make it long, at least 8-10 characters; longer passwords are more secure
  4. Don’t use the same password twice
  5. If you need to make a record of your password, keep it away from your computer; write it down and keep it somewhere safe

An alternative to making your own password is using password-generating software, such as Last Pass, Dashlane or KeePass. 

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