Hacking and small business: what can you do about it?
Knowing that SMEs are less likely to have flash security system built into their online business platforms, the dark web is moving in on them, choosing them as targets rather than big corporations. As a small business owner, you’ll need to know how you can do more with less to protect your business from being hacked.
First, a reality check
The problem is real. Australian SMEs are heavily invested in internet technology. A recent survey shows that 83 per cent of Australian businesses are connected to the internet. Of these, 43 per cent take orders and 51 per cent receive payments online.
Hacking is fast becoming the number one concern for Australian businesses, with 46 per cent naming it as their major danger.
Australian Government figures suggest that some 700,000 businesses were targeted by hackers in 2014. Around 60 per cent of these were small and medium enterprises. The average cost of cyber attacks stands at $275,000.
And it’s not just an issue in Australia, a UK Government report reads indicates that SMEs around the world are now being pinpointed by digital attackers. This landscape can be daunting, but there are some measures business owners can take to limit their vulnerability.
Ensure secure passwords are in place
Many of us fall into the trap of using passwords that have some logical connection to our lives, such as a child’s name or a birth date. The best form of password is one that uses a balance of random text and/or digits in an illogical order. This helps ensure that hackers have a difficult time hitting the right combination.
To ensure maximum security, changing passwords regularly is also recommended.
Invest in protection
There are so many inexpensive security formats now available to SMEs, meaning security resources are well and truly available.
Regularly updated security, firewalls and encryption software is a sure fire way of decreasing the chances of a successful hack into your business.
You may also want to consider Cyber Insurance cover for your business.
Whatever you do about your online security, none of it will be much use if your staff are not tuned into the issue.
Making sure employees know the dos and don’ts of online business - such as ignoring suspicious emails and understanding the security mechanisms in place - will spread the shield right across your organisation. Giving your staff the tools and confidence to deflect hacking attacks, and to know what to do if you are breached, may just save your business .
Simple measures like changing passwords, protecting your most critical data and doing regular backups of important data are all relatively cost-free and can help secure your business.
Keep your ear to the ground
Australian governments at all levels are powering up their means to help small businesses access protection from cyber attacks.
It pays to tap into the cyber security universe occasionally to see what might be useful for your operation, as regular updates do become available for different business types.
For instance, did you know the Federal Government’s Industry, Innovation and Science Department will soon open up a grant application process for businesses with less than 20 employees, to help them purchase accredited cyber-security help?
If you’d like to find out more, head to the CGU website to read up on cyber defence.