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5 Tips for Greater Cyber Hygiene in Your Business

The amount of cyber-attacks against businesses is growing every day, and with hackers attempting to steal information, money or simply to disrupt your business operations it is vital that you secure your business and stay safe online.

Your business may not have the resources to respond and recover from a cyber-attack, so it is vital to manage the risks and prevent or detect cyber-attacks with basic security practices.

Your people are your best form of defence against a cyber-attack, so the following simple steps and tips, plus a large helping of common sense, will make a big difference.

#1: Ensure your software is up to date

Not only should you be using anti malware software, you should also ensure your operating system, firmware and browser plug-ins are up to date to help protect against the latest threats. By patching security vulnerabilities sooner rather than later the lower the risk of your systems being compromised. Check that your software runs updates automatically and switch these on if they don’t.

#2: Strengthen the security of your passwords

Weak, easy-to-guess or shared passwords are a huge liability when it comes to cyber security. Use a password manager tool to generate unique passwords and securely store your log in details, so you never have to worry about writing them down or forgetting them. Also, use and implement 2 factor authentication wherever possible.

#3: Lock down and encrypt your devices

Mobile devices should be locked to prevent a would-be thief from gaining access. Encryption should also be used to protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, and built-in tracking (standard with Android and iOS) can be used to locate and remotely lock or wipe lost devices.

#4: Think once, think twice, think before downloading

If you manage your own computer, be ultra-cautious when downloading and installing software or browser plug-ins. If it's free, or not from a recognised, trusted software vendor, it may well include features that spy on your activity or install harmful programs on your computer. Ideally, your security policy and settings should permit users to install only those programs enabled by your system administrator.

#5: Don't get held to ransom

Ransomware – when hackers use a virus to encrypt files and hold them “hostage” until you pay up – is a growing concern for small businesses. The cloud is a great way to provide instant off-site back-up and fundamental security protection.

Final Thoughts

If your business hasn’t implemented any basic cyber hygiene principles, this is an ideal time to do so. Discovering your vulnerabilities can be an eye-opening experience, but it pays to gain feedback on the most at-risk routes into your company or applications and uncover aspects of your security policy that may be lacking.

Be safe, be sure – and always be secure. Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.

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