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Cyber-Crime: Prepare and Protect Your Business in 5 Steps

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Every year, the world economy loses more than $1 trillion to cyber-crime. Do not become part of that statistic.

Every year, the world economy loses more than $1 trillion to cyber-crime. Do not become part of that statistic.

1 trillion US dollars is a lot of money. You, me and the world could do a lot with that. The worst part is that this figure has increased by more than 50% since 2018, so it’s likely that it will carry on increasing in the coming years. In 2019, two thirds of all organisations worldwide reported some type of incident related to cyber-crime. The recent pandemic has even given these numbers a boost.

The average cost of a cyber breach of a company is estimated to be around £337,000. That is money that you do not want to lose.

Types of Cyber-Crime

The most common type of cyber-crime is ransomware. When you fall victim to ransomware, your data is locked away until you pay a ransom fee. Often, you do not only lose the data they stole but also a lot of money.

Phishing is number two on the list. Phishing is the act of pretending to be someone else to get you to click on an infected link. This is how criminals can gain access to your systems.

The Cost of Cyber-Crime

The cost you pay for cyber-crime includes:

  • Any ransom demanded by criminals who lock your data and block your access to it—often, you do not have another choice than to pay the ransom
  • The cost of recovering your data and undoing the extensive damage done
  • Putting additional ongoing security measures in place after the breach

Moreover, the reputation of your brand can be severely damaged. Local or global media can get hold of this, clients may leave and employees may feel unsafe. But that’s not all. 92% of businesses that have been hacked claim that there is an enormous impact on  the company’s performance. In worst cases, it could mean the end of a business.

The good news is that you can prevent it from happening by creating an effective prevention plan.

Do You Have a Plan?

If not, it’s about time to create one! The number of cyber-attacks on companies is increasing and working from home will make it even easier for criminals to attack your business, especially when not all of your employees are tech-savvy.  

Cyber-criminals target all kinds of businesses. They use clever automated tools to detect vulnerabilities easily and quickly. It is only a matter of time before your business’s defences will be tested.

Set up a clear plan to protect you, your company, your employees and your customers.

Discover our five-step action plan to prepare and protect your business.

Train Your Team

Your devices and software aren’t the weakest link in your defence; you and your people are. When you and your team are aware of the possible risks and how to recognise a cyber-attack, it can make an enormous difference when your company is attacked. And yes, that is when, not if. Almost all companies are attacked at some point.

One click. That is all a cyber-criminal needs from you to get in.

Be Aware of Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are really easy to fall for. Due to almost identical messages and some good-looking emails, it’s often hard to differentiate a proper email from a scam.

With the right training, your team can be taught the signs of a scam email, looking at:

  • The email address it was sent from
  • The language used
  • The font and design of the email
  • How to check if a link is safe before clicking on it

Train Your Team in Depth

There is even more you can learn from the training, including:

  • Closing RDP- links (a techy term for a connection from your computer to another)
  • Looking out for signs linked to ransomware
  • Other areas of online safety such as what information criminals can gather from social media

There is a lot that can go wrong online and criminals are always ready to attack. The more people you have working for you, the greater   your risk. Your entire staff should have regular cyber-security awareness training—including you. Keep up to date with trends concerning cyber-crime and don’t get scammed!

Use the Tools that Are Already Available to You

Many tools exist to help you keep your business safe and protected from cyber-criminals. Use them wisely!

Find the Perfect Blend

Yes, it is complicated and will take some time to adapt to new procedures and safety systems, but the trick is putting together the right blend of security tools for your specific circumstances. These are some of the most used tools:

  • Password managers: These generate long random character passwords for applications. These tools remember your passwords so you do not have to write them down.
  • Multi-factor authentication: This is where you enter a code from another device like your phone to prove it is really you logging in.
  • VPNs: A virtual private network gives you a secure connection to your business  when working remotely, especially now that we are mostly working from home.
  • Encryption: This makes the content of your devices look like thousands of random characters to anyone without the encryption key.

Get Support

Your IT support provider will be able to help you select the right tools. If your business has an IT department, they should manage this project as they’ll know the IT systems of your company inside and out. Together with IT consultants, they can find the right blend for your company. If you have an IT partner, they can work closely with you to understand how your business works before making recommendations.

Always Back Up All Your Data

If anything ever goes wrong and your data is lost, corrupted or held to ransom, you will need a copy of everything in order to keep your business functioning. If you don’t have an automated backup of your data that saves it daily and keeps it somewhere other    than your business’s premises, arrange this today!

Check Backups Daily: Verification

Even if you already have an off-site backup in place, you should check it daily. You need to be 100% sure that the backup is saving everything you may require. This is a process known as verification and it needs to be done every day.

Policy, Protocol, Procedure (PPP)

Create a policy, protocol and procedure. It sounds obvious, but this needs to be done before your business has a problem. Prevention is key.

Policy: The Day-to-Day Handbook

Your policy will set out how your business will deal with any form of data breach or cyber-attack along with who will have to act. Make your policy as detailed as possible as it is a guide for your company to keep the impact as minimal as possible. Include the things your employees must do to help keep the business safe, such as using a password manager and multi-factor authentication. Every member of staff in your business should have a copy of this policy. You could perhaps even ask them to sign to confirm that they have read it and are committed to it. As a result, no one can plead ignorance if they directly put your company at risk.

Protocol: The Action Plan

Your protocol is a written step-by-step plan that contains the procedures your people must follow in the event of a cyber-attack. It is advised to include a procedure for lost or stolen devices so they can be wiped remotely for ultimate peace of mind.

Procedure: Guidelines

The procedures or guidelines we recommend incorporating include:

  • Who to alert in the case of a suspected breach
  • The steps that a person should take to try to block the attack
  • How everyone else within the business should react

Make everything in your PPP as accurate and detailed as possible so people are in no doubt and know exactly what they should do. Every single step of the plan should be written down.

Get Professional Protection

Preparing and protecting your company can seem very time-consuming, complicated and delicate. We, as IT experts, completely get that. However, you should understand that it’s very much a worthwhile investment of your time and energy. What we have discussed in this blog post are just the basics. An IT partner takes care of your security on a deeper and more technical level.

Monitor

You should also have someone to monitor and maintain your devices and network to identify scams or irregularities. If your company is attacked, you want to be aware of it as soon as possible. Someone who knows what they are doing can solve the majority of issues before you even notice them. Many small cyber-attacks can be easily detected and solved when you know how to.

Trust Your IT Partner

A great IT support provider, or IT support partner in this case, should be someone you trust and can rely on. It should be someone who can make sure you’re using all the right tools and software to optimise both security and staff productivity. Often, it is unrealistic to have a full-time employee on your team to do this work for you. Fortunately, outsourcing is a better option.

Feel Safe by Hiring an Expert

Not only do you get support when you need it and benefit from all of the above, you will also be unbothered by smaller cyber-attacks. Plus, you will feel safe knowing an expert is taking care of your online security with access to an entire array of expertise at all times. If you don’t want to take security lightly or you want the help of an expert to be 100% sure your company is protected, we can support you.

If you do have a plan, perhaps it is time to revisit it and make sure it is still up to date in this ever-evolving world of cyber-security and cyber-crime.

Let’s prepare and protect your business together!

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