Protecting against cyber-attacks

While today’s technology has created limitless opportunities for business growth and innovation, it also comes with the risk of a cyber-attack.
In recent years, we have seen some of the world’s largest companies being successfully targeted. In Australia, the risk of falling victim to things like data loss and compromised financial security is just as prevalent. Indeed, research reveals that small and medium-sized Australian businesses are the focus of 60% of cyber-attacks, with the average direct cost to business of over $276,000 per cyber-attack. These incidents have the potential to create enormous financial burdens and damage reputations, so taking some steps to minimise the risk is vital. While the tips on this page are not exhaustive, they’re a good start for business looking to protect themselves.   
Back up your data
It’s simple, but important. Having a duplicate of your company’s vital data and information may help you recover what you lose in the event of an attack. Back it up regularly, whether it be financial records, business plans, customer records or personal information. It’s also a good idea to use multiple back-up methods, including an encrypted external drive or portable device like a USB stick – stored off-site and not connected to your company’s computer system.
Software security
With software such as Malware being designed to infect your computers and electronic devices, installing security software is an important preventative measure. Security software can be installed onto a computer or electronic device to detect whether your software has any embedded virusesWith software such as malware being designed to infect your computers and mobile devices, installing security software is an important preventative measure. It’s also good to ensure that any software you install includes an anti-virus, anti-spy ware and anti-spam filter capacity. Setting up firewall security to protect your internal networks is also highly recommended.  It is equally important if not more to keep the firewall up-to-date.
Keeping equipment on a tight leash
Prevent forbidden access to your systems by keeping all items and equipment secure. Also remind employees to be mindful in relation to where and how they keep their devices and educate them on the importance of USB sticks or portable hard drives for data storage. In the event you ever discard any redundant software or equipment, make sure they’re completely devoid of sensitive information.
Password strength
Creating strong passwords is perhaps the simplest way of boosting digital security. You should assign one to any device that holds important business information. Make sure passwords are not simple or easy to guess, and change them every few months. It’s also worth considering different passwords for different devices. This ensures that your entire system won’t be affected if one of them is compromised.
Protect important information
If you’re sending sensitive business or company data via the Internet, make sure that only approved users can gain access to it. To this end, make sure it’s encrypted. Encryption basically converts your data into a secret code, thereby reducing the risk of theft, destruction or tampering by unauthorised parties.

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