Large organisations can prevent cyber attacks on their own networks by carrying out expensive operations to test their cyber security.
But this kind of testing is not realistic or even necessary for the average start-up, or even small businesses, but knowing the key entry routes for cyber criminals and how to defend against attacks, is.
These 7 simple, but effective security measures, will make your start-up a less-appealing target for cyber criminals and help keep your data safe if you are attacked.
1. Install anti-virus software on all of your devices
Anti-virus software is not just for computers, your phones and tablets should also be protected. Free anti-virus software is available but won’t offer the same level of protection as the paid versions.
2. Use secure passwords
Most of us have been guilty of re-using passwords, sometimes even for sensitive accounts such as online banking or emails. And as business owners, we have so many social media accounts that often use the same password! This is an incredibly risky habit. If you’re worried you won’t remember all of your passwords, you can use a secure password management system such as LastPass. Password management systems also let you share log-ins with employees without ever revealing the passwords.
3. Two Factor Authentication
Many accounts these days can offer two-factor authentication and some even make it mandatory! Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security after the password input that enables the website or app to determine if the log in attempt is definitely from the correct person.
Many social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook often have two-factor authentication. Ensure that you turn this on and use it otherwise you might have to start your social media presence from scratch.
4. Protect your hardware
Be vigilant both in and out of the office to protect your hardware from theft. Ensure that you don’t leave devices on display in a car and make sure your office (including your home if that’s where you work) is locked every time you step out. Security systems may also be necessary!
If you haven’t done so already, you should install tracking software on your devices to help locate them in the event of loss or theft.
Remember that under GDPR, if a device containing personal information is stolen you will need to notify the Information Commissioners Office within 72 hours.
5. Keep your software up to date
One of the easiest ways to protect your business from cyber-attacks is to keep your computer systems up to date. Something as simple as hitting ‘update later’ could be putting your business at risk if the update includes security improvements. To avoid interrupting your workflow, most computers allow you to schedule updates for a specific time each week, such as at the end of the day on Friday.
6. Educate your employees
Human error is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to cyber security. Your employees should know how to spot a fraudulent email, text, or online message, and should follow the same best-practices as you do for looking after hardware and backing up data. Most IT support companies offer cyber security training or you can teach yourself by reading online guides.
7. Back up your data
Having a back up of your data means that if you fall victim to a cyber attack your business won’t grind to a halt. You can back up your data onto external hard drives (remember to unplug them between back ups) or to the Cloud.
If you want to learn more about how to protect your start-up from cyber attacks, check out our Cyber Security workshop on 21st May, which is free to attend if you are a resident with a pre-start up or start-up in Somerset county. Book here.
Register your interest
If you would like to register your interest in future Start-Up Support workshops, or have any questions about the Start-Up Support Package or the 1-2-1 business support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our expert team.