There has been heavy focus on the cyber security industry in recent months.
With cyber attacks on the rise, Australian businesses understand the importance of having a tough and resilient network that is protected from cyber criminals.
But it’s not just large businesses or organisations that are the targets for attacks. Cyber criminals frequently target small businesses, too. According to Compare The Market, small businesses account for 43% of all cybercrime targets.¹
With such a strong focus on cyber security at the moment, it’s no surprise that many small business owners are looking for different ways they can improve their network security to protect themselves from malicious cyberattacks.
Important cyber security measures every business needs
What essential cyber security measures should you be implementing to protect your business?
We’ve been hearing so much about cyber attacks and cyber security in the news recently. But how do you protect your own business from cyber threats?
1. Back up data
This is one of the simplest and most important things you can do. Make sure all your data is backed up on a regular basis to a secure location. This way, if the worst should happen and your network is comprised by a cyber attack, your data is not lost.
There are two ways you can back up data: on a physical drive (such as a portable SSD/HDD or USB stick) or through a cloud storage solution.
2. Use two-step authentication
You know when you have to sign into a secure website and after you’ve entered your password, you still need to enter a special code that gets sent to your mobile or email? This is what two-step authentication is, and it’s an easy way to further protect your network from hackers.
The benefits of two-step authentication is that it makes it harder for hackers to impersonate a user and gain access to a device or network: even if they manage to access your password, they will also need access to your email or mobile phone to get past the second layer of defence.
3. Manage your passwords
It can be hard keeping track of all your different passwords, so it can be tempting to use the same password over and over again. The bad news is, if a hacker gets hold of the login details for one of your accounts then it means they also have access to all your other accounts!
Make sure you also come up with a password that is difficult to break. Using the word “password” for your password is just asking for trouble.
This also fits in with the point mentioned above. If you have two-step authentication in place, your security will be severely weakened if a hacker has access to your email because you’ve used the same password.
4. Secure your devices and software
Invest in some high-quality security software that can protect your business devices from malware and viruses and keep your software up to date. Also remember to turn on the spam filter on your computer, which can help block unwanted spam and phishing emails.
5. Encrypt important data
Encrypting data minimises the risk of it being stolen, destroyed or otherwise tampered with. When sending or storing important data, make sure you encrypt it first to reduce risk.
6. Create policies for your staff
You should create a cyber security policy for your staff to ensure that they understand their responsibilities are. This government website has some useful information on what you should include in your cyber security policy.
You should also create a social media policy that outlines what can and cannot be shared online by your employees. If your employees are posting sensitive or confidential information online, then a cyber criminal could use this information to create a tailor-made scam.
7. Make sure your staff are fully trained
This is really important, because you’re adding a human element into the mix. Make sure your staff are fully trained when it comes to identifying malware and scams before they open a potentially dangerous email. They could also potentially transfer a virus from their home computer to their work computer if they are using a USB stick or similar device to share information.
8. Protect your customers’ information
It’s incredibly important that you do the right thing by your customers and protect their personal information. The consequences of not protecting their data, and leaving it vulnerable to cyber attack, is that their personal information could be stolen and your business’s reputation is severely damaged.
If your customers use your website to shop online and place orders, then make sure you’re providing them a safe online environment where their information is protected.
9. Hire a professional
You can hire a cyber security expert to help facilitate a strong and reliable network for your business. Hiring a professional is a smart move, no matter if you run a small business on your own or a medium-sized business with a whole team of employees. You can go through a Managed Cybersecurity and IT Services Provider of your choice and hire someone to take a look at your business’s network.
10. Educate yourself about cyber security
Alternatively, you can choose to upskill yourself and pursue further education.
Open Colleges has teamed up with AIICT (Australian Institute of ICT) to bring you the Certified Cybersecurity Professionals course. This course has been developed to help students begin a career as a front-line Cybersecurity analyst, but if you’re a small or medium business owner, you could use this course to upskill.
During this course, you’ll learn the foundational skills needed to understand secure networking and how to identify key threats and vulnerabilities. You’ll also learn what to look out for when facing a hacking attack, and the ways you can defend and mitigate attacks.
Protect yourself, your employees, your business and your customers. Learn more about the Certified Cybersecurity Professionals course now.