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5 essential steps to improve your cyber security

Threats to your IT network are constantly evolving. It is important that your IT security is evolving too. Internetwork Media are here to help you take on this challenge. Last year in the UK, 45% of small businesses suffered a cyberattack in some form. Below are our top five tips for how to improve cybersecurity in your small business.
  1. Train your staff on cyber security
  Raising awareness and promoting vigilance among members of your team is the most important step to take towards preventing a data breach. Staff members inadvertently clicking a dangerous link can do serious damage to your organisation, regardless of how many precautions have been taken. Malicious links such as this can be found on websites or in emails. Hackers are using information gained online to convince people that an email is from a trusted source – a process known as social engineering. This has made phishing emails far harder to detect, and one click can open up your network to attack. The emails coax staff into revealing passwords or opening dangerous attachments. Employees should be trained on how to identify and respond to phishing emails. Dummy emails which imitate phishing scams can be sent to staff to test their knowledge. Fraudulent emails of this kind were the most common cyber-attacks experienced in the UK in 2016-17, according to the National Cyber Security Centre.  “The majority of successful cyber attacks are not that sophisticated but can cause serious commercial damage. By getting the basic defences right, businesses of every size can protect their reputation, finances and operating capabilities” – Ciaran Martin, CEO, National Cyber Security Centre IT security training will help your team understand the variety of threats facing your business and how they can take action to protect themselves. It is important to encourage a security-by-design approach to keep cybersecurity at the forefront of employees minds day-to-day.
  1. Enforce strong password policies
As part of their training, employees should be encouraged to use strong, unique passwords for each of their devices and systems. Enforcing mandatory password changes on a regular basis will also improve the security of your IT network. Be sure to encrypt any personal data you store electronically. Hackers target employee or customer data. If compromised, this will damage your working relationships.   Additionally, only appropriate team members should have access to certain files and data. Password protecting confidential files holds those with access accountable for the data held within them. By managing user privileges on your network, your data is less likely to be compromised.
  1. Keep your technology up-to-date
Investing in equipment and software will strengthen your network against the constantly evolving threats to your business. Technology upgrades are an investment in your cybersecurity. Suffering a breach from a cyberattack is costly, and may prove devastating to your business. Firewalls, anti-virus and threat detection software are crucial investments to monitor and prevent cyber-attacks. Anti-spyware can be installed to monitor the devices on your network. Up-to-date software will provide constant surveillance of your network and can identify and alert you to any threats before an attack can occur.        Patch management will ensure that your systems and software are fully updated on a regular basis. This ensures that each application remains protected and functional. Updating and maintaining software when prompted will guard against many threats.
  1. Establish procedures for reacting to a data breach
Even in cases where companies have invested heavily in cyber security, breaches still occur. A data breach can have severe consequences on your businesses operations and relationships. How your business responds to a breach is therefore vital. The GDPR will enforce new rules surrounding data protection, including the possibility of fines or sanctions for non-compliant responses to personal data breaches. Under the GDPR, the Information Commissioner’s Office will need to be alerted within 72 hours of your business discovering a breach of this kind. Depending on the severity, you may also need to contact any individuals whose data has been breached.
  1. Plan an effective strategy for disaster recovery
In the immediate aftermath of data loss, customer service and day-to-day operations are likely to be affected. In the long run, a loss of data can damage the reputation of your business. It is important to establish a business continuity plan to ensure that your data and infrastructure are adequately backed up regularly. This will effectively prepare you to restore your entire network as part of your disaster recovery plan. The aim is to minimise downtime and allow you to go on serving your customers as normal.       How to protect your business against cyberattacks The above five steps are designed to decrease the likelihood of threats breaching your network and to minimise any damage when they do. Overall, constant vigilance from employees, investment in cyber security systems and preparation for responding to a breach are essential steps to tighten cyber security. Internetwork’s IT consultants can analyse the security of your network and identify any quick-wins and longer-term improvements to your cybersecurity which can be made.
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