5 simple tips for small businesses to improve their cyber security

As more and more small businesses move online, it’s important to consider how protected your own business is from cyber threats. Cyber criminals seek to exploit small businesses which commonly lack the cyber security awareness possessed by larger firms

Sunday, 22 August 2021 13:08

L Williams

But improving your cyber security doesn't have to be complicated - sometimes making small changes in your computer usage can go a long way in securing your business against cyber threats. Here are five simple and easy-to-implement tips for improving your cyber security:

 

1. Keep your software up-to-date

This one sounds obvious, but nearly half of all software installed on PCs across the world are out of date. Many software companies address security flaws for free through new software patches, so it won't cost you anything to significantly improve your business's cyber security. This is especially important since the older a software version, the more vulnerabilities cyber criminals will have discovered, so make sure to keep on top of your software updates!

 

2. Backup your data

Ensuring your data is backed up is a must for improving your cyber security, particularly in protecting your business from ransomware attacks. These attacks work by locking your business’ computers and demanding payments to restore access to your own data. This means that while your business is infected, you could be prevented from processing orders, managing stock shipments, and engaging with customers. Backing up your data can be done cheaply with additional physical or cloud storage and will protect your business from the disruption and financial costs inflicted by ransomware. (see our article What actually is Ransomware, and how can it ruin your business?)

 

3. Use dedicated antivirus and cyber security solutions

If you want the reassurance of professional protection for your business, you can sign up to an antivirus and cyber security software. These provide dedicated, round-the-clock protection, preventing threats from gaining entry into your business’ systems as well as searching for vulnerabilities in your computers. Watchman’s sitewatch for example uses artificial intelligence to monitor business systems for both cyber threats as well as performance issues, notifying you the moment a problem arises. With low-cost subscriptions on a monthly basis, this tip is a cheap and effective means of improving your cyber security. 

 

4. Think before you click!

A short but remarkably valuable piece of advice. Many forms of malware spread through fake links or websites designed to imitate legitimate sites. Such links may present themselves in emails, through adverts, or in pop ups. Before interacting with a link, think whether it has come from a trusted source, or if it seems out of place. If you are in doubt or suspicious about a particular link, even if it comes from a friend or associate, do not click it. 

 

5. Be password-conscious 

Passwords are a safe, free, and easy means of improving your business’ cyber security. However, poor password practice can undo many of the benefits. A lot of people base their passwords on things like addresses, birth days, and names of loved ones – all of which are data quite easily obtainable online by cyber criminals. You should preferably use non-identifiable words and random numbers for generating passwords – especially when it comes to valuable business data.  If you’re worried about forgetting passwords, consider using a secure password manager which can store them for you. Watchman users are provided with access to their own personal Vault - a secure online space for saving sensitive data such as passwords. 

About the Author

L Williams

Cyber Security Analyst

Louis-Raphael is a cybersecurity analyst with a background and passion for international affairs and innovative developments in industrial technologies.