Businesses, both large and small, are increasingly using technology, employing smart phones, tablets, websites, apps, and cloud services to conduct their business. It’s a trend that is growing, and something that will not abate. But all that mobile connectivity, along with business opportunities, brings in risks.
Many small business owners are burying their heads in the sand thinking the risks would disappear, but those that have decided to protect themselves are turning to their accountants and bank managers, as per The Cyber Streetwise Forum – a government initiative designed to raise security awareness among SMEs.
These findings have bewildered the Forum as they feel that many small accountancy firms are as unprepared about cyber security as their SME clients who seek their help.
In a bid to help SMEs out, the forum – which comprises of private sector businesses and organisations such as KPMG, Hewlett Packard, Sky and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) – is highlighting the need for businesses to take control of their own security. They have pointed out a number of ways that businesses can protect their computer-based equipment and information from unauthorised access.
So how can a business protect itself?
Chiefly, businesses can:
- make passwords stronger by using three random words
- install security software on all devices (including mobile devices)
- download the latest software and app updates as soon as they appear
- use anti-virus software
- delete suspicious emails
- make staff aware and train then to deal with cyber threats
The Forum is focused on raising awareness, primarily because a research from FSB indicated that mobile connectivity is “vital” to 70% of small business owners.
Carla Baker, Symantec’s senior government affairs manager, says, “We have seen an increase in malware targeting mobile devices. However people often don’t transfer their thinking around how they behave on a laptop or computer to how they use their mobile devices. Remember that just because you can’t see your data being hacked or malware attacking your machine, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”
Cyber Streetwise offers free online training courses for small businesses and a free cyber security guide.