Cyber and data breaches are increasingly hitting the news with a frequency which is certainly cause for alarm. Unfortunately, the majority of cases which hit the headlines refer to larger companies such as Talk Talk. The downside to this is that there is an illusion that SME’s are safe from attacks and breaches. Wrong!
If businesses were advised that they were about to subject to a terror attack, they would rightly take immediate action. The Government classes the threats from cyber crime as a Tier one threat and the statistics show that all businesses are at risk from cyber crime, regardless of size.
Yet let’s put this in context. Being classed as a Tier One threat is a serious worry, however, with the right cyber hygiene, businesses can significantly reduce their risk of becoming a victim. What’s more, many solutions are free of charge or little cost with world class solutions available within our county boundaries.
Early this year, 150 delegates attended the Worcestershire Business Central and Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce ‘Blast Cyber Fast’ event at Worcester Rugby Club. Along with cyber experts from within the county, this event received input from leading cyber insurer Sutcliffe & Co and from West Mercia Police who outlined the reality of the cyber threat.
A range of practical advice is available. Cyber Essentials is a Government backed scheme to guide businesses towards protecting themselves from cyber threats. Guidance on Cyber Essentials can be downloaded free of charge by any business from www.iasme.co.uk
, and can be used to implement essential security controls. IASME can also certify you for the Cyber Essentials accreditation, which in turn shows your current and potential clients that you take your, and your client’s, cyber security seriously.
Solutions are available to help you understand potential and actual threats to your business. Like all security, the solution should be proportionate to the risk so conduct an internal cyber risk assessment. The risk may even differ within different parts of your organisation.
We can all be cyber savvy. A range of courses are available for businesses and it is worth checking out Malvern based National Cyber Skills Centre, www.cyberskillscentre.com
, for courses relevant to your role or your business.
Below are just a few very simple things you can do to protect your business:
• Ensure security software and operating systems are kept up to date.
• Ensure passwords are long ones you can remember (a tip is to combine three random words). Have a different password for each online account.
• Remember that one of the weakest links is the human factor. Make sure you have a suitable policy which is regularly communicated to your staff and is part of the induction programme for new employees. This should include simple actions such as locking your computer or laptop when away from your desk.
• Cyber Certifications such as “Cyber Essentials” are very cost effective and provide both the company itself and their supply chain with added peace of mind.
• Breaches within your company can come from within your supply chain. Ask how cyber secure your current or potential suppliers are; can they demonstrate this with Cyber Essentials certification?
The Government sees Cyber as a Tier One threat; I think we have a great opportunity to make Herefordshire & Worcestershire the safest counties to do business online!