Protecting your business from cyber attacks | NatWest



 

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Add your signposting title here… The impact of cyber crime

The internet has become indispensable for many businesses. Whether it’s selling goods online or transferring funds from one bank account to another, the internet plays a vital role in the day-to-day running of many companies.

While taking to the internet can significantly enhance a business’s operations, it could also leave them vulnerable to cyber criminals. Research suggests that in 2016 cybercrime cost UK companies in the region of £29.1 billion, while almost three million businesses were compromised. Cybercrime can be incredibly costly, and it’s in your best interests to be protected.

There are some basic steps you can take to lessen the chance of your business being affected. Simple security measures can often be enough to deter hackers, while remaining vigilant and ensuring all members of staff are conscious of what suspicious activity looks like can make a huge difference. 

How to protect your business

Where are you vulnerable?

By being aware of how hackers operate and knowing what techniques they employ, you’ll be well placed to defend your business. One of the most common methods is deception comes in the form of an email. Fraudsters will often pretend to be someone they are not – a fellow employee or a bank manager, for example – in an attempt to extract funds.

 

Another way that businesses can be susceptible to attack is via the downloading of harmful material. Though it may initially appear that the file you want to download is harmless, there is often no way of knowing until it is too late. If you must download a file or document, always get it from a trustworthy source.

Education is key

Every time a new member of staff joins your business, ensure they are aware of what cybercrime is, and what they should be looking out for. Show them examples of suspicious emails and phishing attacks, and encourage them to stay attentive when entering any sensitive personal or business data online.

Even with the best security measures in place, companies are most vulnerable when employees are unaware of the risks and how they can be mitigated.

Make payments sensibly

Making and receiving payments is an absolutely essential part of running a business. However, entering bank details online should only ever be done when on a secure internet connection, and on a verified and certified website. If you want to purchase something but have even minor reservations regarding the site’s authenticity, then trust your instincts - the risks far outweigh the potential reward.

Invest in software

If you own a small business, you’ll know that every penny counts. However, when it comes to purchasing software that can help protect you against virtual attacks, consider it an investment rather than an expense. Defending your business from people with malicious intent is absolutely essential, and software can play a crucial role in keeping you safe.

 

While most small businesses have the same data confidentiality and compliance issues as larger organisations, they often don’t have the same security budgets and trained personnel to manage, assess, and reduce risk. If your business is using a reputable service from Microsoft, Google, Apple or another tech giant, the chances are that much of what you require is already being done. Despite this, it is worth investigating if other software will give you additional protection.

 

The key is ensuring that every security measure is aligned, configured and maintained. Don’t rest on your laurels, make sure that all systems are operating just as they should, and don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if you have concerns. 

Regular check ups

If you want to make absolutely certain that your details are safe and that your equipment is clean, it might be worth having an expert come into the office to do routine check-ups.

Computer viruses can sometimes be difficult to spot, and may well lie dormant and undetected for a long time. Getting someone to assess the health of your office’s computers will give you peace of mind, and confirm that you’ve been doing the right things if it turns out they are infection-free.

Prepare for the worst

Identity fraud now accounts for 46% of all fraud attempts in the UK, according to Experian Hunter data, and organisations are investing in ever more complex identity verification and fraud detection technology in order to protect themselves and their customers.

By planning for the worst possible situation, you’ll have a plan in place should such a scenario occur. Take a proactive approach, and do everything you can to safeguard your business ahead of time.

What next?

Read more information on keeping your business safe in our security centre

Our Security Centre

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