Securing your company from cyber crime can be complex, costly and time-consuming – especially when you don’t know where to start. By following these four easy steps, you can implement basic cyber security measures to keep your company safe from most Internet-based threats.
Step 1 – Identify your most valuable assets
Knowing the value of the information you possess is a good starting point for a cyber security strategy. Not all information is of the same importance – think about customers’ payment details and suppliers’ email addresses: do you assign them equal value? Consider the variety of data and information you collect and store, divide them into categories and assign values, from public to confidential. That’s the quickest way to identify what your most valuable assets are.
Step 2 – Protect the most valuable data
Now you need to protect this information. Do so by encrypting files and restricting access to highly confidential information, making sure that no one can access it unless strictly required.
Step 3 – Detect and fix security problems
From now on, your new mantra is going to be ‘monitor and detect’. Set up firewalls and anti-malware software to control all of your network’s incoming traffic, identifying suspicious traffic and malicious code that can harm your systems.
Step 4 – Stay up to date
Don’t be left behind by technology: keep up with software patches for known vulnerabilities to reduce the chances of malicious intrusion, and always make sure that your devices do what they are required to do (your managers don’t need Pokémon Go installed on their business mobile, do they?).
Next step – cyber security credentials
The four steps above demonstrate how implementing five security controls can dramatically reduce the risk of cyber crime (preventing around 80% of Internet-based threats, according to the UK Government):
- Secure configuration
- Boundary firewalls and Internet gateways
- Access control and administrative privilege management
- Patch management
- Malware protection
These five security controls are the backbone of the Cyber Essentials scheme, the UK Government’s baseline for cyber security. More than 2,000 companies in the UK have already chosen Cyber Essentials to demonstrate to customers, suppliers and third parties that they take cyber security seriously – join them!
If you want to discover how Cyber Essentials can help SMEs strengthen cyber security and improve business efficiency, download this free guide.