The summer holiday season is fast approaching and with the daily reminder of cybercrime in the news how do you continue to protect sensitive business information with the office closed and staff on leave?

Information security is big business.  The number of huge data breaches recently involving major corporations eg, Equifax, have been significant. Large corporations have complex internal IT departments and would be using the most up-to-date, best money can buy, anti-cybersecurity software available.

Cybercrime is predicted to grow exponentially and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) lists email compromise and ransomware as the top issues being reported by businesses and organisations.

As a business owner you would be justified in thinking what additional measures can you take to more effectively protect your company’s data when large corporations with their enormous anti-cybercrime budgets are falling victim.

Whatever your business size, any security system breach has the potential to be destructive, costly and cause extensive disruptions to your business operations.

Over the holiday break taking extra precautions is essential to ensure your business systems and data remain secure and un-compromised.  The good news is there are ways to minimise risk and give your business the maximum protection it deserves.

With relevant and proper safeguards in place any potential data security breaches can be limited or planned to be avoided all together.

What are the essential business data protection tips?

To keep sensitive information safe over the holidays we highly recommend you follow these important security practices.

Keep systems and software up to date

It is extremely important and best practice to always keep your operating systems and antivirus/malware software programs current.

Updating device security settings, operating systems and other software including the latest release security patches available ensures you can better protect your system from malware or ransomware attacks.

These critical updates add another layer of protection in reducing the possibility of your business becoming an easy target of cybercrime.

Set up automatic software updates

Scheduling automatic software updates at a regular time of the week safeguards your business against missing any important system versions updates when they become available.

Being consistent in your software update activity enables you to better protect your company’s data.

Did you know hackers specialise in scanning networks seeking out companies who are running older versions, so it pays to be vigilant.

Invest in and stay up to date with your security software.

Make sure you have a good quality cybersecurity programs installed and install all updates promptly.

Paying for a program that secures and protects your business network and every device on it from malware and other threats is money well spent.

Failing to invest in this type of cyber protection could cost your business significantly more should you be subject to a malicious attack or data breach.

Back up critical data

Backup your critical data both in the cloud and on physical storage media i.e. external hard drive.

Using both methods is paramount to ensuring you have access to and retain important business information and can easily recover essential operating system information in the event your computer or server comes under threat.

If your system is hacked your data is compromised in most situations therefore backing up your data is critical to allow for easy re-installation and minimise business disruptions.

Using an external hard drive is also highly recommended as a safeguard against a ransomware attack.  Any attempts by criminals to force you to pay to get access to your data can be denied as you have all data on your storage device.  It pays to keep your external backup disconnected. But the Cloud is better!

Invest in a cloud service provider

A trusted cloud service provider can store your data, manage security and update software patches should your business need an expert to administer security issues and updates.

This is a good solution for small to medium businesses seeking better protection but may not suit larger organisations.

Secure your wireless network

Wireless networks are especially vulnerable to unwanted attention from cyber criminals.  It pays to use the strongest encryption setting you can to strengthen your router security.

Safeguard or change passwords

Changing passwords on a regular basis is another beneficial way to deter would be hackers.  Complex passwords provide better protection as they can’t be easily guessed so it is recommended you optimise passwords, a minimum of 8 characters and using combinations of letters, numbers and special characters.

Password managers are a great business security tool so it is worth researching a suitable option that best fits your business needs and the wider team.

Look at adding an email encryption solution

With email data breaches on top of the cyber criminals’ target list, it is crucial your business introduce an email encryption solution.

Seamlessly integrating into frequently used email platforms, current email encryption solutions are easy to use.  They help to ensure your emails and confidential business information will be read only by intended recipients.

Email encryption is becoming widely accepted as best practice to ensuring sensitive business information is protected.

Manage security risks for personal devices

Does your team use their own personal devices for as part of their role?  If the answer is yes, it pays to have a plan and manage any potential security risks for those external devices by creating a policy and plan.

We recommend a policy and plan that considers areas such as mobile system costs, any legal considerations, internet use and monitoring, company data management and location tracking.

It should also cover employees who work remotely and include an external security best practice list to cover items such as password protections and network security.

Train and educate your team

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of the entire organisation so it is very important to train and educate employees regularly on the security risks and threats your business faces daily.  Culture is King, especially when we speak about Cyber Security!

Engage the team in regular training sessions covering topics such as the dangers of data breaches by human error, how cyber criminals operate including suspicious activity signs to look for, and how their individual actions can have a positive impact in keeping the business data safe and secure.

Educate the team on the security technologies used at the organisation, conduct information sessions about harmful software and new security risks, and any updated software you are using to safeguard the company’s welfare.

Regular training sessions should be delivered with meaningful, compelling and relevant messages, and a “What’s in it for Me?” component.  Encourage the team to take ownership and support the organisation’s efforts in keeping business information secure.

We suggest you schedule a pre-holiday information session.

In closing

For peace of mind over the holidays we strongly propose you have reviewed and implemented these key cyber security measures to protect your data.

We can assure you it’s worth the investment of time and money to safeguard and future proof your organisation against any potential cyber threats.

Does all this information require a chat? Get in touch with us to discuss your unique cyber security needs and let us help you decide on your next move.

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