Cyber-attacks are one the biggest threats to businesses today.
According to government figures, almost two in five (39%) UK businesses reported a cyber-attack in the last 12 months.
The Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022, which was published in July, also found average UK business losses of £4,200 over the last year.
Worryingly, that figure surges to £19,400 for medium and large enterprises.
Being targeted by cyber criminals is a terrifying prospect for any business owner.
However, protecting your company from hackers doesn’t have to break the bank.
Here, Steven Allan, CEO and founder of leading IT services firm Linten Technologies, shares his top five tips for boosting your cyber security on a budget.
Power up your password
Passwords are a major target for hackers.
In fact, tech giant Microsoft claims a staggering 921 password attacks occur every second – almost doubling in frequency over the past 12 months.
Whether it’s employees accidentally sharing their log-in details, using the same passwords for everything or using generic terms like ‘PASSWORD123’, there will always be an element of vulnerability in whatever use choose.
However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t simple and cost-effective ways to strengthen password security.
Multi-factor authentication, which requires more than one password to gain access to data, is a great addition to any company’s cyber defences.
Microsoft Office, for example, allows users to set an extra layer of security by adding passwords for documents.
Generally, the more passwords needed to access data, the safer it is.
Better still, linking other applications or devices, such as mobiles or tablets, to your log-in routine means that even if your password is compromised, hackers still can’t log in without the device.
Consider adding a password manager, which enables users to store all passwords in one secure place, and creating passwords including three random words. This ensures they are strong enough to prevent a breach, but are easy to remember.
According to Global Risks Report 2022 by the World Economic Forum, 95% of all cyber security breaches are caused by human error.
While this means employees can be a potential chink in your cyber security defence, they are also a business’s greatest asset.
By introducing adequate cyber security training programmes, such as how to spot a phishing attempt, staff will be far more aware of the dangers, remain vigilant and could even help to manage a breach.
Businesses can measure, reduce, and monitor employee cyber risks through automated human risk management, which provides tailored training around weaknesses, phishing simulations, dark web monitoring to see if they have been compromised, and a company policy management solution.
Give your team the right knowledge and tools to keep your business safe.
Back up your backups
While you may have strengthened your cyber defences, it’s always best practice to be prepared for the worst in case an attack does occur.
To minimise the potential damage of a breach, it is recommended to back everything up in as many ways as possible.
By doing so, businesses will still be able to access data and continue to function even if an attacker does gains access.
Security software is the first line of defence against cyber-crime.
It is highly recommended to install antivirus software on all company devices.
Most routers come with a built-in firewall, which offers a basic level of security at no extra cost.
For advanced protection, it is recommended that you implement a managed firewall.
Prices vary greatly, including some free tools, while many providers offer free discovery sessions and trials so it’s worth comparing different solutions to see what works best.
The sophistication and rapidly evolving nature of cyber-crime means it is crucial to keep security up to date.
Cyber criminals are quick to exploit vulnerabilities in existing software – and innovative hacking methods and tools are constantly entering the black market.
A managed service provider or IT department should be able to manage and roll out automatic updates to all software and devices across your business.
Ensuring your systems are constantly up to date will ensure you are protected against known vulnerabilities.