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Cyber Security – How to Mitigate Risks as a Business Owner

Cyber security is essential for all businesses that store sensitive information online. However,

learning about cyber threats can seem daunting, as the more you look, the more cracks in your

foundations seem to appear.

For example, you could be a large company and have no idea where to start to improve your

security. Or you could be a smaller firm with more holes in your system than you'd hoped,

looking for ways to prevent malicious attacks.

Unfortunately, there are no full-proof solutions to abolishing cyber-attacks, but there are

certainly ways to lessen the risk or limit the impact of one penetrating your business.


Cyber Security: What is it, and why do I need it?

Cyber security is the practice of defending your online information by applying technologies

and controls to protect your data from cyber-attacks.

There is an increasing number of daily cyber-attacks, and attackers are finding more and more

ways to get into systems and reach sensitive data. But, of course, on an average workday,

cyber security is not the topic you want to prioritise alongside everything else you have on

your schedule.

There’s no better time than the present to introduce preventative safety measures. In doing

so, you’ll save time and keep your sanity in the long run. If you have inadequate security, you

are currently at risk of threats such as:

Cyber Threats

  • Data leaks

  • Insider threats (e.g., disgruntled employees)

  • Phishing

  • Ransomware

  • Password attacks

  • Malware

  • Third-party and supply chain attacks


The above mentioned are just a tiny segment of potential attacks you’re at risk of as a business

owner, and if you leave your online security lacking, it's only a matter of time before you experience some form of cyber-attack.

Every business owner needs to find ways to mitigate the risk of a security breach because if an

attack were successful, you will need a strategy and resources to recover from it with the least

damage possible incurred.


Strategies to Mitigate Risk


The most challenging part of this process can be identifying and analysing where your business

lacks protection and then remedying it.

Creating and applying strategies to deal with cyber-attacks does not have to be an expensive

or lengthy process. In fact, it can be as simple as creating an effective plan designed to suit

your business and the systems you need protecting, including possible pre-emptive actions and

measures you can take as well as resources and tools you can use if a cyber-attack takes place.

Becoming protected and secure doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and it’s absolutely possible to

dodge the tediously long and detailed process. Instead, you can find affordable options and

create strategic plans to ensure you establish adequate protection for your company that will

prove sustainable over time.

Let’s look at eight strategies that can help reduce your risk of a cyber-attack as a business

owner and how they might suit your business best.


Educating your employees


Your employees and personnel can often contribute to many cyber issues, particularly within

larger companies. Some are purposeful attacks, but others are purely due to human error and

accidents. Therefore, it’s beneficial to educate your employees on a few ways they might

accidentally create a gap in your cyber security wall, including the following:

  • Accidental emails sent to the incorrect person or email address.

  • Falling victim to phishing or social engineering attacks.

  • Connecting a personal device to a work device, risking the work device gaining any

bugs the personal device may carry.


Data back-ups


Data loss is an issue that’s likely to occur at some point, either on a small or large scale. Data

loss can be caused by both cyber hacks or attacks but can also happen due to hardware failure

and human error. Business owners mustn't underestimate the value of having their data

backed up and stored elsewhere. Whether on a memory stick or in the cloud, any company

needs its data saved across multiple locations.


Unique passwords/account recovery answers


Always use creative and difficult-to-guess passwords and answers to account recovery

questions. Practical passwords and recovery questions are the simplest ways to protect your

company from easy access to your data.

But having to remember so many sets of login details these days, you’ll likely require some of

the latest apps and plugins to assist you. Apps like LastPass and 1Password can also be used to

generate more secure passwords as well store a range of confidential and recovery

information.


Two-factor Authentication

Transitioning to two-factor authentication is one of the most secure actions to keep your data

safe. A text or code will be sent to your phone number or email when someone is attempting

to log in. Any person without access to your phone or email will be unable to get past the

second authentication piece, keeping your account protected.

The Google Authenticator app and Authy app are 2FA apps designed to provide extra

protection in addition to merely requiring a password. Authy is a ‘robo-form’ password

manager and authenticator supporting code-based access by utilising a 6-digit passcode

feature.


Install Antivirus and Firewall Software


If you don't already have anti-virus software installed, it would be best to reach out to your IT

support team or a cyber security specialist to install it as soon as possible.


Scan for Viruses/Bugs Regularly


If you are unsure how to scan for potential threats, hire a professional to complete it or teach

you how to do it. It’s vital to carry out regular weekly checks to ensure proper management of

any potential threats under a close eye.


Create an Incident Response Plan


If you were to have a successful attack, what would your response be? Are you prepared for it?

Unless you already have an incident response plan, you would likely feel unprepared in this

situation. Therefore, it’s imperative to your company's safety to have an incident response

plan. Then, if ever you experience a cyber-attack, you are pre-emptively prepared and have resources available.


Regular Risk Analysis Checks


How are you going to know if your security attempts are working? First, you need to be

assessing your risk management regularly to ensure your security is adequate and doesn’t

present any weak points.

If you are finding vulnerabilities, you can consider reassessing and upgrading software or

changing some strategies to best correct any recurring issues.

There is a lot at stake without any protection for your company. If you haven’t already

ventured out to find and install extensive protection, we suggest starting with our tips to guide

you through the basics of commercial cyber security.


Contact Ironbark Industries Bookkeeping today to discuss bookkeeping services, your specific

requirements, or any other financial management enquiries.

https://www.ironbarkindustriesbookkeeping.com/contact