There is denying that the online world offers businesses huge potential in terms of reaching customers, raising awareness and networking, but at the same time the threats and risks are real and potentially devastating and costly. February 8th is Safer Internet Day and while this event primarily focuses on children and young people using the Internet, it’s a timely reminder for all us of to be aware of the potential dangers the web presents. At Face for Business we are constantly assessing our Internet procedures (including how we keep out client portal secure) and have had a look at what you can do to keep you safe online.
Back up data
From financial records and business plans to customer details and personal information, it is vital to back-up your data and even more so with the new GDPR regulations coming into effect in May. To keep safe, we suggest you carry out daily back-ups to a portable device or cloud storage service as well as end-of-week, quarterly and yearly server back-ups. If you use portable devices, store them offsite, and don’t leave them connected to your computer as this puts them at risk of an attack too. We also suggest checking you can actually retrieve your stored data if things do go wrong.
Use strong passwords
It might sound obvious, but using your name or date of birth as passwords won’t keep you safe online and could actually leave you wide open to hacking. Choosing strong passwords with a mix of letters, number and grammatical elements, will help improve your digital security. Be sure to change them on a frequent basis, don’t use the same password for everything and don’t tell anyone what they are.
Protect Important Information
As well as backing up data, you might want to encrypt it when it’s stored or sent via email. Encryption reduces the risk of data theft, destruction or tampering and means only the intended recipient can use it.
Use Anti-Virus Software
It might seem like a job you could do without, but we strongly suggest you install security software on your business computers and set automatic updates which will further protect from viruses and attacks. An attack could mean disruption to your business for hours or days, and it pays to have anti-virus software installed.
Be Spam Savvy
Spam messages are becoming increasingly sophisticated but they are seriously bad news, so keep your wits about you and apply spam filters. If an email is from an individual or company you don’t know, and they are offering something that seems too good to be true, do not open the message, do not reply, simply delete and empty your trash folder.
You keep your children safe with firewalls and you can do the same for your business. Remember to install the firewall on all your devices and keep them updated to prevent threats entering your network.
Train Your Staff
If you have staff who use the internet they need to be security smart too. Setting up Internet protocols and a social media policy are good starting points. Be specific about what is acceptable when using work devices and emails and ensure everyone understands the importance of strong passwords, how to spot fraudulent emails and what to do if they suspect suspicious online activity
Adopting good cyber security practices and exercising common sense will help to keep you, your employees, your business and your customers safer, so do it today and put your mind at ease. For more information go to the Government website which is full of hints, tips and resources.