An increasing number of businesses are experiencing cyber attacks, according to the 2014 Information Security Breaches Survey from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
The UK Government recognises the importance of producing reliable information about cyber security breaches and making it publicly available. We personally think that its right the government invests time and money into UK Business Cyber Security Strategy to show the UK is a safe place to trade.
In 2014 the Department of Business Innovation and Skills have expanded on last years report clearly demonstrates the continuing risks associated
with doing business in cyberspace, as well as the make some encouraging findings that UK businesses are taking to improve their information security. The figures show a mixed bag, but in general more business have improved the safety net against the cyber criminals.
Like everything else the is a cost involved in ensuring you’re secure but as the cost for security solutions go up the cost of not being secure takes an even sharper increase. Cyber security is a significant business risk that must be taken seriously, that includes startups too, who are becoming an easy target .
A cyber attack is when data is breached by an individual or group that don’t have permission to access your systems or data using the internet. Both large and small companies are at risk – up to one in five businesses have found their data has been successfully breached. Many of those attacked find that it has occurred several times and large businesses have reported that they are attacked every few days.
What risks are there for your business?
Breach and leakage of sensitive information – Badly designed and unsecure networks could allow attacks to be made via the internet or from within your company, allowing sensitive/confidential information to be shared via the internet.
Breach and damage of information – Badly designed and unsecure networks are also open to malicious damage. This could be the deletion of information or the defacement of a website or social media account. This could damage client confidence in your company.
Denial of service – Networks connected to the internet may be compromised by an attack that limits access to users. This can be particularly damaging to ecommerce websites or others that require a login.
Information or system damage through malware – Malware (malicious software) can infiltrate your network to steal sensitive information or disrupt the operation of your businesses. It can be transferred online, or via transferable drives such as USB sticks. As such it is easy to inadvertently spread malware to business partners and clients, potentially damaging your reputation.
What can you do to help prevent cyber attacks?
As a starting point, the below tips may help your business avoid a cyber attack.
• Keep your anti-virus, firewall, browser and operating system up to date
• Ensure staff receive IT security training and update them on new scams
• Use passwords or data encryption where possible on the mobile devices of staff (such as phones and laptops)
• Ensure your passwords are secure and not shared with anyone
• Update all passwords used within your business on a regular basis
• Avoid clicking on links in untrusted emails
• Don’t share personal information over the phone or internet with untrusted people
• Pay attention when entering in website URLs – sometimes malicious websites use a variation in spelling to a trusted website
• Do not reply to texts or emails that seem suspicious, even if you recognise the sender
• Ensure several staff monitor social media accounts regularly, in case they become compromised
The Department of Business Innovation and Skills also host a series of comprehensive resources that can help your businesses plan to avoid a cyber attack here.