There are several areas where small businesses are blind to the dangers of the cyber world.

While last year brought us the biggest ransomware outbreak in history, we’d say it’s time to shift cybersecurity to the top of your priority list.

You may be thinking, “I’m not a large corporation so surely the menace of hackers and cybercrime doesn’t concern me.” But I’m here to tell you the reality: hacking and cyber attacks are a real threat to every single company regardless of your size.

Here are 3 of the most dangerous threats to your business and how you can guard yourself against an attack.

The reign of ransomware.

Recently, ransomware has been grabbing some major media attention. We saw the collapse of the IT infrastructure of the NHS and other organisations globally courtesy of the WannaCry attack last year. Unfortunately, we don’t see this slowing down but only increasing in numbers and level of sophistication in the near future.

If you’re asking yourself what exactly is ransomware right now and thinking this won’t happen to you then listen up because as a small business owner, you can’t afford to not protect yourself from serious commercial damage.

Ransomware is malicious software which encrypts your files, resulting in you being locked out of your system. Hackers then hold your data captive and demand a ransom in return for the decryption key to recover your files. So, what can you do about this?

Prevention is better than a cure.
  • Stop with the clicker-happy state! Don’t click on random links, buttons and download from dodgy sources.
  • Don’t open email attachments from an unknown sender.
  • Backup your files religiously on a separate server.
  • Make sure you get patches installed, keep up to date with the latest version of Windows and have the latest security software in place.

Here at Worknet, we ensure our clients are one step ahead of hackers with Sophos Intercept X – a software that can identify and remove malicious attacks before they start to infect your entire network.

But if you are hit by ransomware, there’s one thing you need to remember:

Never pay the ransom! Firstly, there is no guarantee you’ll get a decryption key from the hackers. Secondly, you’ll be a good target for future attacks by cybercriminals.

Best bet is to contact a data recovery specialist who will have the experience and tools to help you get your data back.

You have been hacked.

Keeping corporate servers safe from the cruel intentions of a sneaky hacker is a concern for all IT professionals.

There’s not a foolproof system that can guarantee protection when it comes to cybersecurity, but there are many precautions you can take to ensure your server is a less attractive target.

Here are simple security measures to hacker-proof your server:

  • Have a sensible password policy in place to stop password guessing. Your server can lock out a user depending on how many invalid password attempts are made.
  • Implement a software firewall to control the access to your network’s computers from a single point, making it easier to monitor activity.
  • With new security threats arising daily, make sure your server and your operating system are up-to-date.

With GDPR on the horizon, you need to be most concerned with the protection of your customer data and have the measures in place to not only avoid hackers doing anything malicious with your computer network but also with the private data you hold.

Warning: virus detected!

A computer virus (much like the flu) is created to spread from machine to machine and ultimately, cause the computer to malfunction. Instead of a fever, the symptoms of an infected computer include data loss, slow performance and most likely will end up in a system crash.

Yes, we don’t think anti-virus should be your only means of defence when protecting your business but it’s a worthwhile tool that does help keep the noise down.

Although ransomware attacks such as the WannaCry event have not helped the reputation of anti-virus, there’s more recent software available on the market that are effective when combined with other safety measures.

Here are some straightforward (but mostly ignored and left for tomorrow’s list) tips:

  • Don’t disregard update reminders – in order for your anti-virus to fight threats effectively, it needs to be updated regularly.
  • Educate your team on basic security practice such as the danger around clicking untrustworthy links and downloading email attachments from unknown users.
  • Do your research and avoid using multiple programs at the same time which can cause your computer’s performance to dramatically slow down or crash.

Regardless of the size or nature of your business, you need to start taking your cybersecurity seriously and get measures in place to protect your reputation and operational capability.