The threat of cyberattacks is ever increasing – here are our top cyber security tips for business owners and employees to stay vigilant.

As part of Cyber Security Month, we’re sharing some of our top cyber security tips for business owners.

Every 19 seconds in the UK, a small business is successfully hacked, according to research by Hiscox. The clear-up costs alone can be over £25,000 on average, not to mention the stress, data compromise and loss of customer trust that occur alongside.

The mass change to remote working earlier this year meant that businesses didn’t have much time to introduce an entire new IT infrastructure. This means that IT systems and personal equipment are being used in ways they weren’t designed for, and are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. With remote working set to be the norm for at least six months, this could be a huge problem for many organisations.

But how can you stop this happening to your business?


Conduct user awareness training

Employees are the ultimate line of defence against cyber crime, but they often fall below the mark. Using the same weak passwords across multiple accounts, clicking on suspicious links and falling for phishing emails are just some of the ways employees could inadvertently subject your business to cyberattacks.

In many cases, the pandemic has highlighted potential weaknesses in IT security – a recent survey reported that over half of UK businesses have found impersonation attempts harder to detect, and have been subject to more attempts of employee account hijacking.

Regardless of how much time, effort and money you put into your cyber security strategy, cybercriminals are relying on human error to gain access to your systems – and it often works.

Investing in your employees by providing cyber security training will ensure that they are up to date on best practice.

Not only that, but it will actively encourage a cyber security culture whereby staff are always alert and know how to spot suspicious activity.


Regularly update IT systems and software

It’s easy to keep putting off system and software updates that always seem to crop up at the most inconvenient times, but they’re actually more important for cyber security than you might realise.

Cybercriminals are clever, and they’re finding new ways to hack into computer systems all of the time.

That’s why computer applications, software and operating systems are always getting updates. They’re constantly being strengthened and having new patches added to them.

So, keeping up with updates is really important if you want to ensure there are no bugs that can be exploited.


Understand the relevant compliance regulations

Risk management goes hand in hand with both compliance and cyber security.

The risks posed by compliance failure (fines, data breaches, loss of trust) overlap with those of cyberattacks (clear-up costs, loss of data and trust).

It’s important to understand the requirements for compliance within your industry and any other standards and regulations you need to adhere to, such as GDPR and PCI DSS. From here, you can ensure that all the relevant security measures are in place to comply with regulations and protect important data.


Undertake risk assessments and contingency planning

According to a recent government survey, only 35% of UK businesses had done a cyber risk assessment. This number is not very high considering that, in the 12 months prior to being surveyed, 46% of businesses had identified cyber attacks or breaches. Many experience them at least once a week.

Enlist the help of a trusted IT expert to assess any possible cyber threats and ensure that you have an incident response and business continuity plan in place should things go wrong. This will bring peace of mind not only to you, but to any clients and suppliers that could be affected.


Conduct penetration tests and social engineering techniques

How do you know whether the cyber security measures you have in place are effective? Unfortunately, some businesses only find out the hard way.

You can test your cyber security infrastructure by carrying out pentesting. Penetration testing refers to a process whereby an authorised expert will attempt to gain access to IT systems and uncover vulnerabilities that could leave your business exposed to cybercrime.

In addition to testing systems, you should also carry out social engineering penetration tests. Social engineering refers to the way hackers masquerade as a trusted professional, tricking victims into transferring money or providing access to sensitive information. A social engineering penetration test replicates the same tactics used by real life cyber criminals, so you can see how your employees might react to a real threat.

Using ethical hacking techniques and up-to-date threat intelligence sources, our cyber security specialists can help identify weaknesses, remediate risks and strengthen your overall cyber security posture.


Want to strengthen your cyber security?

At Air IT, we’re committed to protecting our clients from the ever-changing threat landscape and increasing risk of attack. To find out more about our cyber security services, please contact us today.