The Importance of Cyber Security in Business

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The importance of cyber security is not to be underestimated by any business, no matter the size. But what is cyber security? And, are you aware of the cyber security basics that can keep your company safe? We answer both of these questions, discussing the different types of cyber protection needed to ensure your company isn’t left vulnerable to any form of cyber-attack.

What Is Cyber Security?

Effective cyber security methods can be defined as a collective approach across software, technological equipment, programs, devices and networks to keep the functionality of equipment, systems and data safe. To create a successful defence, particularly for businesses, employees, technology, and procedures need to be harmonised and work together in order to protect the organisation.

Importance of cyber security

Cyber security is important for everyone, as it protects valuable data and your systems from damage or theft. For businesses, particularly those who hold personal or sensitive data on their customers or employees (medical information, for example), an effective cyber security approach is imperative to ensure systems aren’t penetrated and data isn’t stolen and exposed to others.

Overall, in today’s world, where our data and systems are connected across devices and various networks, more than ever, it’s important that cyber security basics are practised and understood by all employees within businesses.

Remote Working Cyber Security Basics

After the COVID 19 pandemic hit, we all became very accustomed to working from home (WFH) or remotely. However, looking towards the future, it looks like remote working and/or a balance of home and office work are continuing for many businesses.

So, how do we tackle cyber security when WFH? You can find our full list of recommended tips for remote working cyber security on our blog post dedicated to the topic. First, however, here are a few quick notes on what to consider to help protect your business:

1. Data and document storage needs to be centralised, easy to access and secure to ensure that nothing goes amiss or is saved in a place vulnerable to cybercriminal exposure.

2. Ensure employees don’t use work equipment/networks for personal use by providing employees with specific devices for work when remote working. After all, how can you control work security if you’re not in ownership of the device being used?

3. Wi-Fi security is important. Be sure that employees make things as difficult for cyber attackers as possible with complex passwords, renaming the Wi-Fi name so it’s not as easily associated with them and enabling encryption where possible.

4. Consider the safety of video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and ensure the platform you’re using is data encrypted to keep the information exchanged only between those attending the calls.

5. Policy is important to cover at home cyber security basics. You may need to have a separate policy just for cyber security when home working to ensure that employees feel comfortable with working equipment and being proactive in preventing cyber-attacks from happening.

Different Types of Cyber-Attacks

The importance of cyber security is truly appreciated by those who have been targeted and suffered from a cyber-attack. As a business, the repercussions of a cyber-attack could be devasting. It can be hard sometimes to even know you’re a victim of cyber security until the consequences of the attack come to light later down the line. So, we can all agree that it’s essential for everyone in the business to understand and be aware of the different types of cyber security attacks and how they can prevent them.

Here are a few types employees need to be aware of:

  1. Ransomware
This form of cyber attack occurs when your device’s system has malware installed to encrypt all of its data and deny the user access to all files and folders, essentially stealing all the data and information for the device. To get the data back, the cyber criminals require you to pay a ransom, hence the name of the attack, ‘ransomware’. However, as a business, there are many other concerns you have as a result of ransomware, as downtime and losing customers are potential possibilities. Ransomware attacks can occur to any vulnerable business, no matter the size. Usually, ransomware infiltrates a business via a phishing email – one click on a link within the email and the ransomware is unfortunately installed on your computer. To find out the best way to prevent and protect your business from ransomware, take a look at our blog post that explains all.
  1. Phishing
Usually presented in email form, phishing attacks occur when you unknowingly click links that give cybercriminals your credentials and the information they need to gain access to information and data on your computer. For example, the link could prompt you to enter your login details. Or, you could click the link, and it installs malware such as ransomware on your computer. Either of these positions can leave your business extremely vulnerable. Phishing emails are usually presented in disguise and appear to have been sent by a brand or company you may know or recognise. For example, ‘Microsoft’ asks you to log in to fix a problem or ‘Amazon’ sends you a delivery tracking link. So, how do we prevent these cyber criminals from breaching the system? In two ways: – Spam Filters Make sure the settings in your spam filters are updated and include emails from anyone outside your company or regular customers/clients email addresses. You can also purchase additional protection for popular email systems, with the recommended protection for Microsoft 365 emails systems being the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). – Cyber Security Basics Training It is key to know what to look for, so you can avoid these attacks should they filter through to your employee’s inboxes. It can be hard to spot the difference between real communication from a big brand and a phishing attack, as these criminals invest time into ensuring they present themselves in exactly the same way to try and reel people in. Training provides employees with the tools to be able to identify a phishing attack email, so you don’t need to worry about rolling out emergency damage control following a link click. For a step-by-step breakdown on preventing attacks once a phishing link has been clicked, please read our guide.
  1. Impersonation Fraud/Spear Phishing
For employees in businesses, impersonation fraud is usually presented in the form of a CEO, managing director or someone senior within the company. As a spear phishing attack, this type of cyber attack involves communication (usually an email) to be presented as bait. For example, an employee in the payroll or finance department may receive (what appears to be) an urgent email from a senior member of the business asking them to pay a large sum of money into a fake account. Unknown to the recipient, this account belongs to the cyber-criminals To the untrained eye, the email would appear to be legitimate and authentic based on the research done by the attackers on the sender. Even the email address would be almost identical with perhaps characters in the wrong place or a letter or number missing, which, when you’re checking your emails quickly or trying to complete what appears to be an urgent task set by the company’s CEO, can easily go unnoticed.

Our Advice

The main thing to remember about cyber attacks, regardless of which type of attack it is, is that these cybercriminals have substantial experience in what they’re doing and know all the tips and tricks to try and get employees to open and click emails, type in their login details or even transfer money straight into their account. So being aware and creating a line of defence against these criminals with the relevant software is advisable; however regular training on cyber security basics for your employees is the best way to ensure they’re up to date and aware of the role they can play and responsibility they have to prevent a cyber-attack on the business, whether in the office or when working remotely.

Having a cyber security policy is important, so we recommend introducing and organising regular training updates for the team as a part of that policy. Not only does this keep your employees up to speed on the best way to spot and prevent attacks, but it also makes business partners, customers/clients and stakeholders know you’re doing everything you can to protect the data on your company’s devices with a strategic and effective defence for all types of cyber attacks.

We hope you now fully understand the importance of cyber security in business and how the best form of defence is to put cyber security basics into practice throughout your entire business. Remember, cybercriminals attack those they believe to be vulnerable; the size or nature of your business doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll be targeted. However, with a workforce and devices prepared to withstand such attacks, you’re in a much better position to avoid the damage that they can cause.

For information on our cyber security and IT services or how we can help diagnose the level of security within the IT systems of your business, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team of experts today. Or, if you’d like to learn more about cyber security within the business, check out the Integral IT YouTube channel and watch our quick and easy videos.

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