Some of the most common cyber attacks out there can significantly damage your business. Research estimates there are 65,000 cyber attack attempts on businesses every day, with 10,000 of them being a success.
Hackers look for easy pickings and tend to target SME’s who are likely to be cutting corners on their IT infrastructure and cyber security. The important thing to remember is your business is never ‘too small’ to be targeted but it could be too small to recover.
In 2018, 60% of small businesses hit by a cyber attack collapsed due to financial devastation or sheer reputational damage.
In addition to having the right level of cyber security measures in place, it also helps to understand what cyber attacks are, how they work and how you can protect your business from them. Even the most common cyber attacks vary in severity and identifiable traits – they never become obsolete because they are too easy to spot, they simply become more sophisticated.
What are the most common cyber attacks:
When you hear the word ‘hackers’, it’s easy to imagine a group of hooded criminals beavering away at laptops in some underground bunker, all with the same drive. In reality, there are many different types of hackers out there, all trying multiple methodologies and each with a different motive:
Keep this one high on your radar if you’re an SME responsible for client financial data: Some cyber attacks are designed to purely steal data with financial gain as their end goal. The loss of clients’ data to a cyber attack can be enough to damage your reputation even if you can survive the financial salt in the wound.
Ransomware comes in many guises – an ‘unpaid invoice’ attached to an email or a ‘password reset link’ designed to look like it’s come from your bank. With one click, malicious software is uploaded to your PC and takes control over your files and data. With Ransomware, the hacker will offer you your data back… for a hefty ransom fee due in a very short space of time – short enough to make you panic and act without thinking. Remember, the return of your files is never guaranteed.
Some hackers are simply looking to access your cold hard cash. This cyber threat should never be dismissed as something that only happens in cyber cafes – always be on your guard when making online financial transactions, even in your own office.
Protect your business from common cyber attacks:
Ultimately, you need a good cyber security management policy in place and strong defences. Here are 4 essential steps you can take today to protect your business from a potential cyber attack:
#1 Educate your employees
Never leave your cyber security entirely in the hands of your IT Manager. Your entire staff-force is your first line of defence when it comes to cyber crime: Their PCs hold the priceless data that drives hackers.
Every business owner should invest in cyber security training for all staff; general tips on password security and safe surfing will be beneficial, and a good training session will develop their awareness of cyber attack techniques such of phishing and other social engineering approaches that they could be targeted with.
Through experience, we know that arming your staff with this knowledge will make them more vigilant and cautious with the data they handle day-to-day. That’s why at Jupiter IT, we offer free cyber security workshops to all of our clients and their staff, tailored to their industry.
#2 Leverage the Cloud
Cloud services not only offer optimised collaborative working, but they also give you unrivalled cyber security. The cloud can analyse data over many end-users to instantly detect and even predict a cyber threat. Not to mention, if the worst were to happen to your hardware, you can revel in the knowledge you have all your data stored safely on the cloud for a fast recovery – it’s your virtual safety net.
#3 Password strategies
When you considering the National Cyber Security Centre was able to compile a list of 100,000 passwords that had been involved in data breaches, it’s easy to see why regular password updates are so important.
It’s a good idea to schedule password update days for all staff and promote original tips on how to set a good password – take the first letter of each word from the first line in your favourite song, for example.
You should also consider implementing multiple authentication methods wherever possible in your business.
#4 Cyber Essential Certification
The government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme is designed to teach businesses how to effectively protect themselves and their clients’ data from the threat of a cyber attack. As a result, your business will be rewarded with the nationally recognised Cyber Essential Certification which not only gives you peace of mind but also adds to your business’ marketability as a trustworthy and knowledgeable company.
According to the government, if all SMEs implement Cyber Essentials best practice, around 80% of cyber attacks could be prevented.
Jupiter IT Is More Than IT Support – It’s IT Consultancy
At Jupiter IT, our commitment to fighting cyber crime and helping other businesses gain polished cyber security processes has driven us to gain the Cyber Essentials PLUS Certification; this allows us to provide the best cyber security protection and recovery for our clients, and also means we can guide them to qualifying for the certification themselves. You can find out more about Cyber Essentials best practice and how to certify your business here, or give us a call – we’re more than happy to share our expertise with you.