During the Christmas season, many small businesses are at their most vulnerable. There’s not always enough staff present to sufficiently undertake all the tasks that need completing – which is why some things fall by the wayside. To protect your business this holiday season, it’s worth preparing your defences in advance. We take a look at some steps you can take to reduce your risk of being exposed to a targeted cyber-attack.
Ensure staff are properly trained
During Christmas, there are usually less staff in the office and more working from home or on-the-go and many may be tempted to do some online shopping done on their lunch break. Due to this change in routine, it can make it very easy for someone to make a mistake.
If you run a small business, it only takes one member of staff to click on a phishing email to leave you vulnerable to cybercrime. Ensure that every one of your staff is fully trained in cyber awareness through online courses and in-house training. From the importance of creating strong passwords and varying these across different platforms to spotting phishing scams and potential threats, your staff must be equipped with the knowledge to keep your business safe from cybercrime.
Be wary of public WiFi
When you log in to public WiFi, it’s very easy for prying eyes to see every site that you access, and this leaves you incredibly exposed. Many hackers have the means the infiltrate public WiFi networks in order to pose as a trusted party and obtain personal information from you. If you do need to carry out confidential work in public, it’s much safer to disconnect and use your phone’s data.
Maintain a clean desk policy
In 2016, the ICO published a report which found the 40% of data security incidents were a result of businesses inadvertently exposing paperwork to third parties. To avoid this, many businesses impose a clean desk policy which means all workspaces should be left clutter-free at the end of the day and all confidential paperwork should be securely stored away. Dependent on the layout of your office, think about providing staff with a dedicated area to store paperwork which is solely managed.
During the periods that your office is empty over the holidays, make sure that all confidential paperwork is securely locked away.
Check your physical security measures
Data protection breaches don’t just happen online. If your business isn’t secured properly over Christmas, it could make it a prime target to thieves and vandals alike. Consider CCTV, motion-sensitive lighting, security alert technology and heavy-duty locks as a means to secure your physical business premises from all angles.
Backup your data
While some cyber criminals are out to steal your data, others attempt to encrypt it to block your access to it – making it impossible to carry out the day-to-day running of your business. To avoid getting caught out by ransomware, back up your data to the cloud.
Invest in robust cyber security software
With the right cyber security software in place, you will be able to continuously monitor your system network for viruses and malware. This can help your business to stop cyber criminals in their tracks or catch signs of illegal activity quickly before any major damage is done.
Consider Cyber Insurance
Even with the most stringent security measures in place, there’s still a chance that cyber criminals could access your system network; that’s why you need a plan in place in case it happens. Cyber insurance can protect your business against the aftermath of cyber crime, including system damage, liability issues, data breach fines, reputational damage and more.