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Stay 'digital safe'

You may be surprised to hear that, when it comes to cybercrime, small businesses account for a massive 43% of the organisations that are attacked! In this digital age, we offer advice so you can protect your own business against hackers.

New technology and digital developments offer you lots of exciting opportunities.  However, it is more important than ever to ensure your business is protected against a whole new world of digital dangers and threats - cybercrime.  Recent research has revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the     most at risk, with 43 per cent of cybercrime incidents targeting small businesses, as they are less likely to have the structures in place to prevent an attack.   

Here are our top tips for protecting your business.

Know your enemy
Perhaps the biggest danger surrounding cybercrime is that many people simply do not know the types of criminal activity that could be taking place behind the scenes.  Cybercrime is now classified as serious organised crime, and alarmingly, many businesses do not even realise they have been the victims of an attack. It is also very difficult for the police to monitor and track incidents, and therefore the majority of cases often go unreported. 
• Ransomware - corrupt software takes over a user’s computer, phone or tablet, forcing them to pay a ‘ransom’ fee if they are to re-access their data. 
• Phishing - criminals send emails that, on first glance, appear to be from reputable companies asking you to take action to correct an immediate problem. They encourage victims to input personal information such as financial data or passwords with the hope that you’ll take the bite.
• Hacking - a hacker will gain unauthorised access to a computer to view or copy data. This can result in an infringement of privacy or the damaging of a computer-based property such as web pages, software, or files.

From managing accounts, to simply liaising with customers on social media, installers are embracing the digital world more than ever before. Yet, while they initially may not feel the brunt of these common attacks, the consequences – whether financial or reputational – can be very damaging. 

Stay alert
Don’t be put off using all this fantastic technology as the opportunities are great.  Stay alert and look out for unusual or unfamiliar activity online.  By putting the appropriate procedures in place, you can be assured that your business is secure against fraudulent activity. 
• Regularly review your bank, social and mobile accounts so that suspicious changes can be easily flagged and reported before any damage is done. 
• Frequently change your passwords and ensure they different for each account.  This is because hackers will steal passwords from one site and try their luck elsewhere in the hope that can reap some financial gain. Many platforms now encourage users to create lengthy, unique passwords, and it is definitely worth heeding this advice.
• Do not keep your list of passwords saved in an accessible document. There are now many safe password manager platforms that will help to generate strong passwords for individual accounts, automatically logging in to different sites without the need to store or remember an endless number of logins.
• Many platforms, such as Microsoft, Google and Apple, now require two-step authentication and will not allow the user to log in without verifying the account via a mobile phone, making it more difficult for hackers to access data.
• Install and keep security software updated by running the latest versions whenever possible to defend against possible viruses. 
• Close down any accounts you no longer use. By reducing your online footprint, it instantly makes it more difficult to target you via multiple platforms. 

From global companies, SMEs, or even individual consumers, cybercrime affects anyone using the internet or a smart device – which is now the vast majority of people. However, by remaining cautious when asked for personal data, avoiding downloading attachments from suspicious emails and adopting best-practice security measures, you can embrace digital innovation and stay one step ahead of cyber criminals.

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