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Small Business? Be cyber aware

16th October 2019

Intention to fine British Airways £183.39m for data breach….Intention to fine Marriott International Inc more than £99m for data breach…

Headlines such as these from the Information Commissioner’s Office Website (ICO) could give the impression that only large organisations suffer from data security failures. That’s just not the case. Witness another of the ICO July 2019 headlines which reveals that an Estate Agency has been fined £80,000 for failing to keep tenants’ data safe. Moreover, a government survey revealed that in the UK 32% of businesses suffered a breach in the past twelve months so if you think it’s not going to be you, it might be time to think again.

But data security isn’t simply a matter of keeping data safe in order to avoid being fined. Cyber fraud including phishing, denial of service, website/phone hacking and ransom-ware can result in real loss to individuals and businesses. So much so that according to a report by RiskIQ, in 2018 the worldwide cost of cybercrime was £2.3m per minute. Whilst the average down time for businesses recovering from a cyber-attack is three days, the ongoing cost in terms of revisiting data security and the loss of customer trust and reputation can be significant.

Where does that leave businesses? Well to start with it is time to get cyber-crime aware. It is often said that people are the weakest link in any security system and the more you can help your people to be cyber aware the greater chance that some attempts will be thwarted. Even a simple ‘think before you click on the link’ message could make a difference. Businesses may also want to sign up for the South West Police Regional Cyber Crime Unit mailing list* Issued fortnightly it offers cyber security advice and guidance.

There is also the government’s National Cyber Security Centre website at: www.ncsc.gov.uk. This contains a wealth of general information and guidance for individuals, SMEs, charities and public sector organisations. Cyber Essentials, a government backed accreditation scheme, is designed to assess the application of cyber security in your organisation and helps you guard against the most common cyber threats. It also demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding data and builds a level of trust with your customers.

Alongside the above, businesses may also want to take time to review their current systems including network security, data back up, and disaster recovery.  Thompson Jenner’s sister company ThinkIT can advise businesses on the best approach to take here as well as managing day to day IT issues as required.

ThinkIT’s Commercial Director Paul McCarthy commented, “Even with this level of preparedness we still strongly recommend that small businesses consider taking out cyber liability insurance. Cyber criminals are getting ever more sophisticated and it is therefore prudent to take steps to safeguard your business from this type of threat in the same way that you would insure it against fire or other damage.”

He went on to say, “As part of any IT audit, ThinkIT are able to put you in touch with a specialist insurance broker who can advise you on the options that are available in taking out cyber liability insurance to safeguard your business in the event of a cyber-attack.”

 

If you would like to discuss cyber security in your business further,  please contact Paul on 01392 435803 or email: Paul@thinkit.uk.com  for further information on ThinkIT’s services or to discuss any specific IT issues you may have.

 

 

*https://www.swrocu.org.uk/cyber.html

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