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3 Cybersecurity tips for smaller businesses

Almost every business in 2022 has faced challenges, with tight budgets, talent shortages, stressed out, cash-strapped employees – and business owners facing the same rising costs as everyone else.

Unfortunately almost every business has looked for ways to save money, whether that’s surveying the internet for websites like Latest Deals that offers voucher codes on essential business supplies, or getting rid of services and costs they think aren’t necessary.

However, when it comes to technology spending, there’s one area that it really isn’t worth skimping on and that’s cybersecurity.

With a new war and superpowers using any possible means to undermine one another, any business, no matter how small is seen as a viable target for state hackers, however it’s not even always that purposeful – I’ve seen church halls, small online retailers selling hand-made crafts and local training companies having their websites hacked, anything from terrorists replacing all the images on site with a terrorist banner, to an 11 year old deliberately adding malware to a local church website, to entire company networks being hit with a virus from an email.

The first thing all of them say is ‘why me?’

The truth of the matter is that these can be expensive to fix and damaging to your business – but in many cases would have been simple to prevent.  Here’s some essential low cost cybersecurity tips you can apply immediately:

  1. Educate your Staff about Malware and Viruses

    Staff are the first line of your cybersecurity defences.   Train them not to open emails that they aren’t sure about and if something looks suspicious to seek advice from the IT support team.  We’ve seen phishing mails like ‘You need to change your password now’ emails, telling you to click on the link.  Our advice is to NEVER click on a link from the email and instead paste it into your browser, before hitting enter you can see which address it is going to – if you don’t recognise it don’t go to it.

  2. Use strong passwords

    Anyone who uses part of their address, their childs names, their pets names or who chooses very short easy to guess password is a potential vulnerability for your business.  Imagine if a hacker had access to your email system, what damaging messages could they send out to your customers or suppliers?  Passwords should ideally be at least 12 characters, not be names and should include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.  By the way, Jul1asD0gF1do! Is probably guessable, so choose random words that people aren’t likely to guess!

  3. Keep your WordPress website up to date

    WordPress is one of the world’s most popular website systems, it’s easy to use and has plenty of functions.  However, it’s popularity makes it a target for hackers.  WordPress and their plug in manufacturers do a good job of releasing regular updates, ensuring that any vulnerabilities are patched quickly, protecting your website.  Usually these updates are managed in house rather than by your website provider (although they may offer this as an add on service).  You will find them on the ‘updates’ tab within the site dashboard.  In most cases it is as easy as clicking a button to keep your site updated and protected, but if you delay doing this your site could be left vulnerable.  Our advice is to check for updates daily – or to pay your web host to do this for you.  It may cost £40 a month for them to do that – but contrast that with the damage a hacker can do, it’s a small price to pay.