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Four reasons IT security shouldn’t fill SMEs with dread

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The number is likely to be small. Does this mean smaller businesses are immune to threats?

Far from it. 

The 2014 UK Cyber Security Report found 60 per cent of SMEs had fallen victim to an incident in the past year. Furthermore, the UK has lost a staggering £4.3bn to digital crime in 2014. Many expect this figure to keep rising for some time. 

Remember, the risks from lax security are not just financial loss or reputational damage. They can include client loss, extortion, compliance issues and other damaging outcomes.

Traditionally, most SMEs have lacked both the technical understanding and focus to make security a priority, but this has started to change. Driven by easy-to-deploy, affordable cloud solutions, businesses of all sizes are rethinking their security. 

This includes an often forgotten subset of IT – Apple Macs. Recent figures showed Mac OS X’s share of the market had reached roughly eight per cent; therefore, companies running Apple’s operating system need to think as much about security as their Windows counterparts – they are no longer an ignored minority.

Additionally, because protecting business data spans more than just anti-malware, businesses of all PC types should consider the range of defences at their disposal. 

There are many solutions that make managing this process easier, however, below are some basic tips for every business owner to consider.

1. Strengthen everyone’s passwords

Each of us likes to save time, but it is concerning that this trait continues to apply to internet and device passwords. For example, a recent study showed that ‘123456’ is still the most popular password, with ‘password’ in second place. 

Passwords are the first step to securing your business data. Including numbers and symbols should be a bare minimum. The phrase should be highly unique to the user, and that doesn’t mean a birth year or location. 

An even better option is mobile authentication, which many online services have started to use. 

Also, try not to use one password for multiple accounts, because if one is compromised it could provide the hacker with a direct route into every business account.

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2. Update your software when prompted

It might seem like a distraction, but always update your software when you are prompted. Browser updates often contain critical security patches against vulnerabilities. Updates generally download in the background and most only take a few minutes to install.

Understandably, expecting staff to manage this process can be a lot to ask because of their busy schedules, while updating a large number of computers can take up your own time. That is why many businesses look to cloud security solutions to ease the burden of managing multiple computers.

Continue reading on page two for how you can protect staff from themselves and why knowledge is power.

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