Introduction – Securing Your Business – 5 Tips to save £12,000 for your Business
First, why £12,000? Well £12,000 is the average cost of a cyberattack to an SME. Many sources on the internet will tell you different things if you search ‘Average cost of a Cyberattack,’ but we have averaged the amount to 12,000 using our trusted sources from Shepherd IT Services. The fact is your Businesses will lose money if you do not protect them from cyberattacks.
A widespread problem is that Business owners will not consider getting any kind of IT security/support until it is too late, now they have lost a fortune that could have been used to develop the Business, and sadly 60% of SMBs fail within 6 months after being a victim of a cyberattack. It is also important to note, and I explain this a lot in my presentations, that it is NOT just large companies that are targeted. Just because you are a start-up or SME does not mean you will not get a ransom demand! SMEs are often targeted because they are easy and have no security. FREE £5,000 HERE FOR THE TAKING, no security or support, so why wouldn’t you get targeted?
So now you are terrified, you should be. It is the 21st century and cybercrime is ever growing and evolving, however…there are ways to protect yourself and your £12,000, without getting rid of all your businesses computers and going back to good old-fashioned pen and paper:
TIP 1 – Install Anti-malware
So, there are 3 routes you can go down when you install Anti Malware. The free route, the premium route or the outsource route. Many Anti malware programmes will be free to use but have limited features. In the free versions they will be able to scan your PC/Phone and detect most malware, but they come with ads every 10 seconds. Premium may come with additional features such as VPN (Virtual Private Network) protection or an avoid fake website feature. It is good to do research on which one will best suit you. Some good examples would be Norton or Avast.
When outsourcing IT, the IT provider will install the anti-malware they are partnered with. The wonderful thing about outsourcing is you will have a bunch of IT nerds securing your business computers, and the provider will have advanced threat detection procedures set up, warning them when malware is attempting to breach your company. As a bonus, you will not have to worry about setting up or monitoring your IT security, it is all done for you.
Anti-Malware is a MUST! For any Business. Malware is everywhere, the chances are you will have malware on your computer if you have no security set up, and even then, there is Malware that can disable anti malware programmes. Therefore, it is best to have IT nerds looking after your security. If you are working, it is good to check that your Anti-Malware is enabled now and then. If it is not working, and it was working last time you checked, seek help fast! This means there is a chance that powerful malware has disabled it, and time is everything when under attack!
TIP 2 – Educate yourself on the threats out there
Fantastic news everyone! We have the internet…use it. It is common knowledge that cybercrime is huge. So as a business owner, why would you not take time to educate yourself and your staff on the threats that are out there, and what to look out for when working? You would think it is common sense to do this as a business owner, but many people do not because they think it will not happen to them, or because they lack time. This is another reason outsourcing your IT is an innovative idea.
Educating yourself and your staff can save you a lot of money when an attack is launched on your company. Phishing is the most common type of attack employees fall for, and it is not their fault. Some of the phishing emails and messages that are out there are extremely convincing, and there are few ways to know if the person messaging you is who they say they are. Educating and researching will mean that you and employees are more likely to spot phishing emails or messages.
There are many sites out there that explain what threats you face. The Shepherd IT Services website has a page which explains the most common types of attacks and how to secure your Business against them. Another good site to look at would be the Norton website. It is the duty of Business owner to look after employees. It is not just the Business finances that are targeted, employees can lose personal finances from an attacked launched on your company. Use the internet to research cyber threats or take online security courses, many IT support companies offer security awareness training in their packages.
TIP 3 – Be wary of your Emails
90% of Cyberattacks are initiated through email, so be over cautious when sending and receiving emails. 247 billion emails are sent in the UK every day, and for each 99 emails sent, 1 is a cyberattack. If you do the maths…that is a lot of attacks launched through email. An email is a direct route to the inside of your business, so really you need some form of email protection and threat detection. This is not as easy as setting up Anti Malware, companies like Barracuda will only sell email security through IT Support Companies.
Is google (Gmail) security enough? Through my journeys of speaking to Business owners and auditing domains to see how secure an email is, I have had many people say to me that they are secured through google. Google is great for security through logging in and detecting spam yes, however, they are not always able to detect phishing emails and block viruses. To answer the question, no, google security is not enough. There is no advanced threat detection available through Google.
As stated above in Tip 2, phishing emails can be very convincing. Yes, you have come across obvious phishing and malware emails. But you should not assume all attacks are obvious like this and hold back on email security because of this. Some attacks are a lot more sophisticated than others; hackers are extremely intelligent and WILL eventually outsmart you. One method they use is shadowing the hundreds or thousands of emails you send out a month, that way they become experts in pretending to be you through email. If you are an accountant without an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) or DMARC record enabled through email security, then a hacker can do major damage to your reputation by targeting your clients impersonating you.
So, to help save yourself £12,000 you should be wary of your emails, but even then, you are still at risk. Email security is the better way to cut off that route to the centre of your Business. Are you curious how secure your email actually is? Shepherd IT Services offer a free cybersecurity audit telling you how secure your Email is. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you have even the slightest doubt that you are unsecure.
TIP 4 – Prepare yourself for disaster
How would your Business be affected if 6 months’ worth of data disappeared? A lot of time and money would have disappeared as well. Back-up your data in case of a disaster, this could be human error, cyberattacks or even natural disasters. To do this properly, you should get an IT expert to do it, or at least assist with backing up your data. Because if you make a mistake… that data could be gone forever, make sure you know what you are doing, or have someone doing it that knows. Mistakes will happen and attempting to migrate or backup data yourself is very risky.
Many people use cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox, however this is not exactly a backup solution. Yes, it is better than storing data locally, however if deleted by accident or hacked you will still not get this data back! What we do at Shepherd is save a copy of all files/data every 2 hours. This is a proper backup solution for disaster recovery, in the event of a disaster your files and data will be secured.
Now if you have security set up then why bother with backups? Firstly, just because you have professional security set up does not mean you are unable to get hacked. It is extremely unlikely that a legendary super government busting hacker will target your Business, but it can happen. Therefore, you should sort out backups even with security. Secondly, we all make mistakes. Data is not just lost through attacks; it can be lost through accidental deletions or programme/software issues for example.
Tip 5 – Ask for help, it is okay to do so
Let us be honest, IT is complicated. Most Business owners have no clue what they are doing when it comes to computers, and that is okay. There are places you can go for advice and support. If you are not deeply knowledgeable or experienced in one area of business, then outsource it to someone that is. As previously stated, many Business owners will try to take on all aspects of their Business. This will overload the Business owner and cause the Business to underachieve, which I will talk about more in my next book: Why Outsource?
Stubbornness can cause you to lose £12,000! If you need help and support, ask for it. The most expensive issue a Business will have with IT is the ones that cause downtime. This is very costly. Your Business cannot function because of this issue, such as a server breakdown. Think about how much money you will lose from the downtime of your Business. If you had support, this issue would likely not of happened, and if it did it would be prioritised and fixed quickly, preventing you losing money from the costly downtime. You will experience breakdowns and system errors, so stop being stubborn and ask for help when you need it before an issue causes you to lose a lot of money.
Yes, a lot of advice is free, but help and support may cost. Many people will not get help because it costs them money. Well yes…IT support and security does cost because of the labour and technology used. Let us share a secret: the average price for IT support and security is £40 a month per user, this does depend on the company. You pay £40 a month for smooth running secured IT, which includes the following benefits: prevents costly downtime, secures your £12,000 from being stolen in a cyberattack, stops identity theft, server maintenance, employee protection, improved deliverability rate for emails, improved service, Becoming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) Complient, access to better tools, unlimited technical support, fast response times, file organisation solutions, backups etc. If you ask me, that is a great deal for £40 a month. Or £45,000 a year if you want to hire ONE IT specialist for your company.
To Conclude – Securing Your Business
Technology is the future and massively influences Business. Problems will arise with technology and Cybercriminals will always be out there trying to steal your £12,000. Businesses need experienced professionals to maintain, support and protect their computers. There are ways to partially protect yourself without paying a penny, but you are still at risk, especially if you do not know what you are doing.