What the risks are for your business and steps you can take to prevent it in order to avoid your company being another cyber crime stat.

When you run a business, it is important to pay close consideration to all forms of security. Whilst you might think this just applies to locks on doors, burglar alarms and security cameras, the truth is that cyber crime is actually one of the biggest security risks to any business at the moment. It is a sad fact that cyber crime is on the rise, with smaller businesses being targeted the most as it is assumed that they will not be equipped to deal with the threat.

Cyber security is now considered as essential as many other forms of insurance and health and safety, given what is at stake. The risks to your business and your customers can be massive so you need to have a full understanding of what they are. Here, we take a look at what the risks are for your business and what steps you can take to prevent it in order to avoid your company being yet another cyber crime statistic.

Cyber crime

Cyber crime is something which can take many different forms including data breaches, ransomware and scams. It is thought that as many as 88% of UK companies have suffered some sort of breach in the last 12 months. Whilst this is still lower than most of our European neighbours, it is still a pretty scary statistic.

If you think that your business is not a target, then it is worth remembering that one small business in the UK is attacked every 19 seconds. While that sinks in, you should also be aware that around 4,500 successful attempts to hack into small to medium sized businesses occur in the UK each and every day. That means that there is a very real chance that your business could be next.

It is believed that data breaches cost UK companies alone an average of $3.88 million per breach, which makes you start to wonder why we then spend so little on protecting ourselves from these attacks. Putting proper cyber security in place can cost money, but it is now something which is just as essential as your other forms of security.

Cyber security

Whilst cyber security might still sound like something out of a science fiction film to some, it is a very real thing that should now be considered by every business that uses a computer in some form or another. The reason for this is that the effects can be devastating for businesses of any size, and the tools that attackers are using only seem to be increasing.

You need to ensure that you have proper cyber security measures in place in order to protect both your business and your customers, as it is usually their data that is at risk. As you are responsible for the data that you hold, any breaches can be considered to be your fault and can lead to hefty fines and a massive dent to your reputation.

Attackers have a tendency to target smaller businesses as they know that many are unprepared for an attack. By putting proper cyber security in place, you can guard against being one of their victims and be ready for whatever comes your way.

To start with, you need to understand where your business is vulnerable and what an attack could do to you. Consider whether an attacker is looking to bring your business to a grinding halt or take the valuable data that you hold. Once you know what they are looking for, you are in a better place to put the right measures together.

Much of your cyber security involves putting the right software in place to spot any attempts to attack your business. This might be blocking emails that look suspicious or scanning files for viruses before they are opened. You will need an effective firewall in place which can block unauthorised access to your network, and you should also have a network management solution to maintain and monitor your network infrastructure.

It can also mean educating your staff to look out for anything that does not seem right and to avoid them clicking on links that they should not or opening files that they do not recognise.

This can all take time and is something that should be reviewed regularly in order to make sure that you stay on top of all of the latest developments.

Outsourcing your cyber security

Putting together an effective cyber security plan can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not an expert in your field. That is why outsourcing the role is becoming increasingly popular as it can give the peace of mind that everything has been put in place properly.

A cyber security team can help to reduce the strain on any in-house teams that might be struggling to keep up and can offer effective support to them. It might seem like an expensive option, but building your own cyber security team can be even more costly, particularly if they do not get it right.

Luke Watts, Managing Director at RoundWorks IT commented, “By employing a specialist team, you will have access to a range of experts who understand the threat landscape fully. It can be difficult to expect internal teams to keep up with this whilst juggling the other aspects of their jobs. A specialist firm will also be keeping up to date on any new threats that might be emerging and updates that you can make to avoid them. They will be able to advise you on what is needed and implement anything that you give the go-ahead to.”

The cyber threat is very real and is something that every business needs to take very seriously. Cyber security should now be as big a consideration for your business as many other essentials and should be high up on your list of priorities. It is an area that is worthy of investment, especially when you are looking for a broad range of skills and expertise to ensure that you are thoroughly protected as it is not just your business which is at stake, but the livelihoods and safety of others as well.

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