Did you leave the digital door open?

If you saw on the news that someone’s business was robbed because they left the back door open, you’d probably scoff and think they were pretty daft. But little do you know, you may be doing the same when it comes to your business’s online security.

Think cyber crime won’t happen to your business? Think again.

Cyber crime costs the Australian economy more than $1 billion each year and small businesses are the target of almost half of all cyber crimes, according to a security guide recently released by the Small Business Ombudsman.

In most cases victims are forced to permanently shut up shop within six months of an attack.

Worse still, nine out of ten small businesses falsely believe their business is safe from cyberattacks because they use antivirus software alone.

But just like a bricks and mortar store, there are plenty of ways for thieves to crack through your business’s web security.

The guide urges: “Whether it’s your accountant, your IT specialist, or [the Ombudsman], know where to go for more guidance on your risks, vulnerabilities, and how to enhance your security online.”

In the meantime, here are the guide’s top tips for preventing hackers from disrupting your business:

1. Put someone in charge

Every good plan needs a leader; someone responsible for researching, implementing and updating your cyber security plan.

Pick someone who is technologically savvy and meticulous when it comes to completing tasks.

“You should put at least one person in your business in charge of cyber security. It should be someone trusted in management with access to assets,” the guide recommends.

2. No weak links

It only takes one chink in your business’ cyber security armour for hackers to break through.

Educate employees on: the importance of not opening up attachments in odd-looking emails, not plugging in second hand USBs into their computers, and not visiting dodgy websites.

“Discuss cyber security regularly. Make it a day-to-day priority, just like locking your doors each night,” the guide says.

“Encourage staff and customers to report incidents and anything that seems out of place.”

3. Discover your vulnerabilities before the hackers do

Learn about the different ways your business can be attacked, then conduct regular checks and audits of your online ‘footprint’.

Online exposure points vary for every business, but the most common cyber-attacks include: email phishing, malware, ransomware, denial of service and watering hole attack.

“Secure your Point of Sale systems, mobile devices, networks and stored data with recommended actions. Familiarise yourself with more advanced techniques to become cyber secure,” the guide recommends.

Some simple final tips

– Back-up regularly to protect against loss.
– Patch applications by installing security updates.
– Use complex passwords and two-step authentication.
– Limit access to administrator accounts and sensitive information.
– Only allow applications you trust on your computers.
– If you think an attack has occurred, tell staff and authorities.
– Restore backups from before the incident.
– Consider cyber insurance.

Where to from here?

Your business’s online security shouldn’t be taken for granted.

“When it comes to cyber-attacks, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” the guide states.

“If you use the internet, you are at risk.”

So, as the Ombudsman recommends, get in touch with us so that we can help identify areas of your business systems that have exposure to the online world, and thus, exposure to cyber criminals.

From there, you can start putting an effective cyber crime prevention strategy in place.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

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