Protecting your business from cyber attacks


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The vast majority of people wouldn’t leave their house unlocked, or their keys in the ignition, or leave their most valuable items out in full view. And yet, for whatever reason, almost all of us are guilty of not taking the same amount of care on our computers, in our databases, and with our online presence.

Whether it’s using the same password over and over, failing to keep systems up to date, or not having adequate insurance cover in place, we have become complacent. We see cyber-attacks in the news, but we think it’ll never happen to us. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Contractors, freelancers and the self-employed are as vulnerable as anyone else. Evidence has shown that almost three quarters of small/medium enterprises (SMEs) will experience a digital breach at some point in their career. Here are some tips on how to prevent this from happening.

Be vigilant!

We’re generally well-versed when it comes to spotting spoofs and fakes. But the people and groups looking to exploit individuals are getting smarter all the time, and it can sometimes be quite difficult to gauge the difference between something legitimate and something fraudulent.

If you receive an email you’re not sure about, trust your instincts. Check the email address it came from and compare it to others you’ve received previously from the same company. Hover over links in the email to see if the URL seems reliable. Search for anything that looks suspicious before clicking any links. None of these things take long to do, but it could save you a world of trouble further down the road.

Keep up!

You know how frustrating it is to look at your phone, your browser plug-ins, or your computer toolbar and see a bright red circle? They’re annoying for a reason – they’re there to make sure you keep your security software up-to-date.

The risk of being infected by ransomware falls significantly as long as you follow the basic computer security steps. Ensure that patches and updates are installed as they’re released by software firms. Vulnerabilities in operating systems, web browsers, apps, and plug-ins are often exploited by hacking groups, especially if those flaws have been known about for some time.

As the National Cyber Security Centre website notes: “Software providers will have made patches available to mitigate them. Deploying these patches, or otherwise mitigating the vulnerabilities, is the most effective way of preventing systems being compromised.”

Do you share the computer you work on with someone else? It could be a friend, a family member, or someone you’re working for on a short-term basis.

Whatever the situation, it’s always a good idea to keep that computer secure. Use a password generator like LastPass to get some stronger protection in place, or set yourself up as an administrator on your computer and require authorisation when someone wants to install software. That way they’ll have to ask you first, and you can make sure you’re happy with what is being installed.

Think about setting up a website filter, which will minimise the chance of anyone clicking on a website that could contain a virus.

Having the right i';lnsurance in place is essential too. Cyber Liability cover from Kingsbridge includes protection against business interruption, cyber-extortion and ransom, as well as assistance with system and data rectification and cover for regulatory defence and penalties. Give us a call on 01242 808740 to find out more.

Kingsbridge are an approved IPSE Partner.

We work with a number of specially selected partners to provide a range of products and services exclusively for IPSE members.

Meet the author

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IPSE is the leading association for contractors, consultants, interims, freelancers and the self-employed. We strive to bring our members the most comprehensive and useful range of information and services and all the latest news about what affects your business.