Is SME IT Security a Ticking Time Bomb?
We’re delighted to welcome Paul Wicklow from 5th Utility Ltd to discuss whether IT & data security in small and medium businesses is a ticking time bomb and what you can do to protect your organisation. Without further adieu…
Small and Medium sized businesses (or SMEs) are the backbone of the UK economy and that’s no different in Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands. One of the best parts about being an SME is that you can be nimble and adapt to changes quickly, without the incumbency of having a huge workforce to re-train.
The downside of this is that we can all be guilty of focusing most of our efforts on how we’re going to generate revenue and how we can keep our customers happy. The ‘admin’ and ‘processes’ side of things can be neglected, particularly when it comes to IT systems.
Although on the surface, your IT systems work as they’re supposed to and ‘do the job’, the reality can be that you’re vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. The results of this can be catastrophic, from legal action from customers who have had their payment information stolen, right through to systems grinding to a halt, preventing you and your staff from doing your work.
Sorry to be all doom and gloom! I’ve put together a few pointers however that can prevent the majority of issues.
Create processes to backup your data regularly (keep backups off-site)
I can’t stress this enough, without a backup, you can face absolute disaster if an attack occurs and can face weeks of downtime as your systems are rebuilt.
We recommend backing up your data weekly, if not daily, so that you don’t lose out on any key information if an IT problem occurs.
Make sure your backups are stored externally, out of reach of your network and website. This will provide a cut off if an attack was to occur.
Make sure staff are using strong passwords
If your staff are accessing sensitive information, please ensure they’re using strong passwords. Strong Password Generator provides a simple solution, but a better one that will probably save the headaches of lost passwords, is using a password management system such as Lastpass.
Unfortunately, the vulnerable point leading to most cyber attacks is a human operator. This risk can be mitigated, but it requires a bit of time dedicated to training your staff in line with best practices. We offer a consultancy service that can help you if you’re struggling in this area.
Keep physical devices secure
Although we place a lot of focus on the software side of things and making sure your devices are secure in that respect, it’s also worth noting that a lot of cyber crime occurs as a result of devices being stolen and then breached.
I’d recommend keeping access to business critical areas such as server rooms to a tight group of staff, and making sure they’re locked when not in use.
Unfortunately, from my experience of working with SMEs, I do think that they’re a ticking time bomb when it comes to cyber security. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to try and get as much exposure as possible when it comes to educating business owners about the risks associated with not taking action over your cyber security strategy.
If you’re in need of any advice regarding your IT systems, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at 5th Utility Ltd, one of our team will be happy to help.