Micro-firms feel too small to be cyber attacked

The UK’s smallest businesses have been accused of having their “heads in the sand” when it comes to safeguarding their computers from a security breach.

Kaspersky Labs, an IT security company, found that a third of the nation’s smallest traders would not know what to do if they had an IT security breach tomorrow.

Four in ten of such 'micro-firms' – those with only a handful of employees – told the company they would struggle to recover all the data lost from a breach, and 25% admitted they would be unable to recover any.

Even more worryingly, as it suggests such an unprepared approach won’t change,  more than 80% wrongly believed they won’t be targeted by a cyber attack because they are “too small” or "don’t have anything worth stealing."

That’s despite the fact that two-third of the business-owners have internet-connected laptops, and half of them said they allowed IT-enabled mobile and remote working.

Kirill Slavin, UK managing director at Kaspersky Lab, reflected. “One in ten of those surveyed admitted that an IT security breach would probably cost them their business.

“This must be addressed, and quickly. Most of the time it’s the IT equivalent of remembering to lock all the doors and windows when you go out, make sure you have some additional protection and not to leave valuables where others can easily see and get to them.”

Slavin urged small businesses, such as freelancers, to spend just five minutes a day checking the following five things to help keep their business safe\;

  1. Passwords – Check that all internet-enabled devices and computers that carry your business data are protected by strong passwords, regardless of whether the equipment is company or employee-owned.
  2. Attachments – Understand the dangers that can lurk in emails, web-links USB sticks, CDs etc. and consider introducing extra software that will filter out or contain suspicious-looking items.
  3. Education – Make sure everyone connected to your business knows how to stay safe online; including how to use strong passwords, spot suspect emails or sites, and protect company information.
  4. Back-ups – Every day make sure the information you store on computers is backed-up and secure. Imagine how your business would cope if you had to get through the day without it.
  5. Security systems – Take full advantage of any user-friendly internet security software that that has been specially created for small firms such as your own to secure devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, WiFi and networks. Don’t forget about physical security as well – keep things out of sight and the site locked up.

Editor's Note: Further Reading -

Staying safe online - protecting your PC

Backing up your data, part 3 - back-up strategies



24th July 2014

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