Attire Accessories - May/Jun 2018 (Issue 70)

36 ATTIRE High-profile cyber-attacks on well-known companies have generated international headlines and raised awareness of the growing threat of cyber-crime. Recent surveys conducted by Symantec and other cyber security organisations suggest that many small business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security. The statistics are grim.The vast majority of small businesses lack a formal internet security policy for employees and only about half have even rudimentary cyber security measures in place. Furthermore, only about a quarter of small business owners have had an outside party test their computer systems to ensure they are hacker proof, and nearly 40 per cent do not have their data backed up in more than one location. Shockingly, despite these significant cyber security exposures, 85 per cent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach.This disconnect is largely due to the widespread, albeit mistaken, belief that small businesses are unlikely targets for cyber- attacks. In reality, data thieves are simply looking for the path of least resistance. As more and more large companies get serious about data security, small businesses are becoming increasingly attractive targets – and the results are often devastating for small business owners. In recent years, nearly 60 per cent of the small businesses victimised by a cyber-attack closed permanently within six months. Many of these businesses put off making necessary improvements to their cyber security protocols until it was too late because they feared the costs would be prohibitive. Don’t make the same mistake. Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber-attack: • Train your employees in cyber security principles. • Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. • Use a firewall for your internet connection. • Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available. • Make backup copies of important business data and information. • Control physical access to your computers and network components. • Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden. • Require individual user accounts for each employee. • Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software. • Regularly change passwords! On the subject of passwords… According to software management firm ‘Keeper’ the top-10 most commonly stolen passwords last year (2017) were: 1. 1234 2. Password 3. 12345678 4. Qwerty 5. 12345 6. 123456789 7. Letmein 8. 1234567 9. Football 10. Iloveyou Insurance brokers TH March discuss cyber security for your small business Cyber security advice for small businesses Further information: TH March is a chartered firm of insurance brokers. Established in 1887, the company has offices in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Sevenoaks, as well as its National Administration Centre in Yelverton near Plymouth. Telephone +44 (0)1822 855 555, email , or visit the website