Following the recent warnings from MPs that the UK needs to do more to stop internet crime, many businesses will need to assess the way that they approach their network security.
In the first dedicated report on the subject of internet crime, the Home Office found that up to a quarter of the specialist internet crime officers employed by the police could be lost due to budget cuts, despite evidence that there are over 1,000 criminal gangs that specialise in online espionage.
It also found that 93% of large businesses and 87% of small businesses have reported a cyber breach in the last year – a shocking figure that goes to show no matter how big your business is, small companies are just at risk of attack as larger companies are.
So how can businesses protect themselves and their customers from this surge in internet crime?
Secure your network
This might sound like the simplest solution to prevent any future attacks, and rightly so: it’s the best place to start before focusing on other areas of your network’s security.
Investing in a good IT support team that can put in place firewalls, malware and spyware detection is the best place to start.
And if you’re a small business with costs to worry about, there are plenty of affordable solutions that don’t cost the earth. Popular internet security tools for businesses can be found for less than £100 per year and they usually come with server protection to keep your business running on the off-chance you may have a security breach.
Encourage Best Practice
Putting a solid infrastructure in place is all well and good, but if your staff and customers aren’t using your system in a safe and secure manner, then it defeats the object of having a secure network in the first place!
Create an employee handbook outlining the dos and don’ts of working online and on the network and make it mandatory that every user, both staff and customer must have a unique strong password.
If your users need several passwords or have difficulty remembering theirs, then clever apps like LastPass lets users save their passwords in one place, with one encrypted system, and works across all platforms and places, meaning your staff can use it at home and at work.
No matter how much you try to protect your business, you can’t always plan for every security breach, so taking out an insurance policy which protects you against e-crime is a nice cushion, should all else fail.
Standard insurance policies will cover you for the replacement cost of things like new websites, servers and any corrupted hardware that has been damaged as a direct result of a hacker or malicious attack.
Keep your banking separate
Not only should you have separate business and personal accounts, using a totally separate computer for your accounting system is also advised. Using a machine which isn’t used for accessing personal emails, social media accounts and other applications and sites that make computers vulnerable is a great way to ensure that your sensitive information isn’t at risk.
As a business you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re providing a secure and safe environment, and without it you could lose money, not only if your systems are breached, but in potential revenue from customers who discover that your infrastructure isn’t safe.
Promote the security of your website wherever you can – whether through visual badges on your site or secure purchasing systems. If your company is in the ecommerce industry, this is especially important so that customers feel safe when buying with you.
For more information on the government’s report, please see this URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/keeping-the-uk-safe-in-cyberspace