Cyber threats such as viruses, ransomware and phishing attacks are one of the biggest risks faced by businesses worldwide today. Remember the infamous WannaCry attack that almost brought down the NHS in May 2017? The same strain of ransomware infected 300,000 computers across 150 countries, costing the global economy a fortune to resolve.
And whilst you might think that cyber thieves tend to focus on the bigger players, don’t rest on your laurels. Yes, larger organisations have the finances and motivation to pay ransoms or sort out other problems relatively quickly, smaller businesses and even individuals are targeted all too often. So don’t take the risk. Put steps in place to protect your systems and sensitive data today. Follow our top 5 tips for improving your cybersecurity.
1. Keep your software and operating systems up to date
Did you know that WannaCry could have been prevented if a software patch released by Microsoft had been installed in good time? That’s the sad truth – and it’s a cautionary tale that any business owner can learn from.
After all, Microsoft and other vendors don’t release updates for fun! It’s hugely important that you install them as soon as they become available. Without the latest security upgrades and bug fixes, your network could be vulnerable to a whole host of cyber attacks.
If you’re concerned about missing updates or you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry. RoundWorks IT can take care of them for you as part of our Managed IT Support service. At the same time, we’ll maintain your systems, so they’re kept in good shape and monitor them remotely to pick up on any issues ASAP. Great news for your peace of mind!
2. Implement robust backup processes
This really is absolutely crucial. So if there are any holes in your backup processes, sort them out NOW! It’s the only way to guarantee you can restore your files in the event of data theft or virus attack. Having adequate backup facilities in place is also a requirement under GDPR – and no one wants to fall foul of that one.
There are several options to consider, but here at RoundWorks, we recommend a ‘two-pronged’ approach for maximum security. That means backing up your data in real time to a reputable online backup service and carrying out hourly backups to an external drive that’s removed from the building at the end of each day. Like Ripley said in Aliens: ‘It’s the only way to be sure.’
Naturally, RoundWorks IT can help you choose and implement the right backup solution for your business. We partner with leading vendors including Acronis, Veeam and Storagecraft to make sure your sensitive client and financial data is kept safe and sound. And if you’re currently running Windows Server backup, we’ll even upgrade you to Veeam free of charge if you take out a Managed IT Support contract. Bingo!
3. Practice good password management
Sloppy password management is a dangerous game to play. Using the same passwords for multiple accounts, or choosing weak or easy-to-guess passwords, is a massive no-no. This is especially important if your staff have access to financial systems such as company credit card and bank accounts, and/or personal client and supplier data.
A good way to manage passwords is to encourage staff to use a special programme that automatically generates strong, unique passwords for each of their accounts. These are then stored securely online so they don’t need to write down or remember each individual password. Both free and paid-for programmes are available, with popular options including Bomgar, Roboform, Dashlane and KeePass.
If you decide to manage your passwords yourself, here are some simple rules to follow:
- Choose long passwords, ideally with at least 20 characters
- Use a strong mix of letters, numbers and symbols
- Don’t use the same password for multiple sites
- Don’t share or write down your passwords
- Change your passwords every 3 to 6 months.
4. Invest in IT security systems
Think IT security is all about anti-virus? Think again! There can be a lot more to it than that, depending on the size and nature of your business. Starting with anti-virus, however, don’t just sign up for a free service and hope for the best. These are only marketed for personal use, so by using it for your business, you’re invalidating the terms of your licence. Whoops!
Instead, go for a business-grade service that offers comprehensive protection rather than basic cover. Believe us, it’s worth the investment.
Other IT security services available from RoundWorks IT include:
- Managed Security Firewalls and Firewalls-as-a-Service
- Managed Email Filtering and Security
- Managed Web Filtering
- Managed Full Disc Encryption.
Our expert team will be able to advise you on the right products for your business needs.
5. Control access and train your staff
This is really two tips in one, but hey ho! Firstly, have a think about who needs to access what in your business. Does the forklift truck driver in the warehouse really need an email account, for example? By limiting access to the online applications that staff genuinely need to do their jobs, you’re cutting the risk of cyber attacks right down.
This is because, despite the ever-increasing sophistication of cybercrime, many threats still need human intervention to get going. That usually means clicking on an infected link in an email or on a web page or opening a malicious email attachment that launches a nasty virus or ransomware attack.
Unfortunately, many of these links and attachments look genuine. It’s all too easy for people to click on them for this reason, or from sheer curiosity. And that’s where staff training comes in. Train and educate your staff to understand the risks posed by cybercrime and to recognise the warning signs.
Need advice on IT security?
RoundWorks IT can help with all aspects of IT security, from providing advice and training to creating a disaster recovery plan for your business. If you choose our Managed IT Support service, you can bolt on a wealth of IT security features for maximum protection and reassurance.
Get in touch today to find out more and discuss your IT requirements with our experienced team.