Since the introduction of computer viruses in the 1970s, hackers have become increasingly sophisticated. With the rise of the internet came opportunities for scammers to steal information - such as personal and financial details - for fraudulent purposes. But despite this threat, organisations are not always as vigilant as they should be.
Cyber security has become a growing concern to us all, and whilst we may think our business is secure, we're likely unable to prove it. So, could it be time for a cyber security health check?
With the rise of global technology and the advancement in cyber crime in recent years, it's increasingly crucial for businesses to ensure their IT security processes are up-to-date and effective. As so many companies are now affected by cyber crime, it's easy to see why it's becoming such a hot topic.
Governments have been some of the hardest hit by cyber attacks in recent years, with the NHS being targeted by a ransomware attack in 2018, costing an estimated £92 million. And in 2016 alone, there were over 3,000 reported data breaches in the UK, with the financial and insurance sectors suffering the most. Since these statistics were published, this trend has accelerated in one direction: upwards. And it's not just governments that need to be wary either - the harsh realities are that cyber attacks can, and do, hit organisations of all sizes and industries.
Maintaining a secure environment can be difficult for small and medium businesses running on a tight budget. But, prevention is better than cure, and a cyber security health check may be the best way to identify potential weaknesses in your system. Here's our guide to conducting a cyber security health check in your business.
Step 1: Conduct a thorough assessment of your network and infrastructure
The first step is to carry out a full assessment of your network and infrastructure to identify any potential vulnerabilities or weak spots. This review should include a detailed review of your IT network to identify any unsecured access points where a hacker could potentially gain access to your system.
Step 2: Evaluate your business's policies and procedures
Next, you should evaluate your business's policies and procedures to determine how well they protect your IT systems from the threat of cyber-attack. For example, are your employees aware of the importance of cybersecurity and how to identify and report suspicious behaviour? Is your antivirus software up to date, and do you conduct regular scans of your system to check for viruses and malware?
Step 3: Assess the effectiveness of your security measures
Once you've carried out the two previous steps, the next step is to assess your current security measures to determine whether they are sufficient to protect your business against the risk of a cyber-attack. In other words, are your current security measures capable of preventing unauthorised access to your systems and sensitive customer data? How effective are they at protecting your organisation against emerging cyber threats such as ransomware?
Step 4: Implement new security measures where necessary
Once you have assessed the effectiveness of your existing security measures, you can implement new measures where necessary to ensure that your business is protected from a cyber-attack.
Cyber security audits can help businesses to identify any potential threats to the security of their IT systems and provide guidance on how to address them.
A good starting point is to understand your level of security and ensure that any existing systems and processes meet the latest industry standards. Other considerations may include running cyber security training for all employees or checking if your suppliers have anything in place that can help you.
A cyber security audit will also identify any areas where you need to address any gaps in your security, allowing you to prioritise these areas accordingly.
Do you find yourself asking questions such as, 'Is my business at risk of a cyber attack?', or 'Am I confident that my current security measures are up to scratch?' If so, it may mean you're rightfully concerned about your security levels. Here are a few signs that you might be putting your company at risk.
• Do you routinely receive emails from unknown sources containing suspicious links or attachments?
• Are your employees spending too much time on social media sites, leaving confidential company information vulnerable?
• Do you store all of your company's data in one place? Could an intruder gain access to this data and use it against you?
• Are you making use of outdated software which has known security vulnerabilities?
By carrying out a cyber security audit of your business, you will be able to identify potential risks and create a plan of action to mitigate them. Doing so can go a long way towards helping you to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and prevent a data breach from damaging your reputation and threatening the future of your business.
Reach out to us directly, and we'll put you in contact with our cyber security specialists, who will ensure you're ready for whatever comes your way.
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