Small Business Cyber Security Guide | Startup or Shutdown?

3 min read
Feb 20, 2017 4:41:00 PM

Startup Computer

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the UK if recent statistics are to be believed. Data collected from StartUp Britain from 2016 revealed 342,927 new businesses were registered with Companies House between January and July. To put this massive figure into perspective, that’s around 80 an hour.

This explosion in new businesses demonstrates the fresh opportunities available across the country, a trend that has not gone amiss here in the South East. However, this growth in small businesses can be a dangerous prospect, not simply over whether your company generates enough interest to survive its first challenging years.

Cybersecurity for businesses is a prevalent topic entering 2017, as companies of all sizes and sectors face threats daily. If budding business owners allow themselves to believe that IT security threats only target established firms, they could find their startup is shutdown in short order.

In fact, precisely the opposite of this assumption is true: in 2016, 43% of spear phishing attacks targeted small businesses, compared to 35% towards large and 22% at medium-sized businesses. Furthermore, 66% of small businesses have been a victim of cyber-crime in the last two years, including increasingly prominent DDoS extortion attacks and the rise of ransomware. If you think you are small enough to fly under the radar, that is simply not the case.

So, what steps can new startups take to ensure online security and stem the threat of data breaches?

Steps to Startup Security

Staff Training

Firstly, it is important your staff are sufficiently trained in IT security. Without this, no matter how trustworthy and dependable your team is, they could unintentionally leave an opening for a cyber-attack. All it takes is opening an unknown email or downloading a supposedly safe file to put your data at risk. By establishing a simple security protocol, you can avoid these risks.

Our staff at Method take the time to discuss cybersecurity measures throughout your business, including advice on staff training. We would encourage:

  • Teaching staff to generate strong, secure passwords and not store them on their computer
  • Set rules on what employees can install/download and websites they can visit to prevent access to unknown outside programs
  • Encourage staff to speak up when they notice something amiss on their computer – questioning suspicious phone calls and emails
  • Regularly update software and back up files on shared servers

Internal Defences

Your internal security should be the next concern. Most startups will not have the available funds to purchase state-of-the-art security measures, but that doesn’t mean ignoring them entirely. A trusted firewall, computer securing software and antivirus software are a bare minimum for all business devices.

For greater peace of mind, our technicians at Method advise two-factor authentication for your essential data and data encryption to secure your network.

Cloud Migration

While internal defences are crucial, more and more startups are recognising the value of the Cloud for its security benefits. Our engineers will gladly migrate your data from physical servers into virtual servers, offering the advantages of stronger surveillance, managed access and frequent updates.

Still unsure about how the Cloud protects your business’ cybersecurity? We discuss this in greater detail here.

Incident Response Team

While these preventative measures put your business in the best position to ward off cyber threats, there is no guarantee of total security. Only 4% of SMEs have written plans in place for an online attack – in this case you should stand out from the crowd. It’s a question of not if but when your company suffers an attack, and we actively encourage business owners to be prepared for that eventuality.

As it can be difficult to monitor your data on top of everything else going on in your startup, our 24/7 support network keeps your business secure when a cyber-attack occurs. Whether the issue can be addressed remotely or needs to be handled on site, our engineers endeavour to resolve any problem in a timely, constructive manner.

If you’re looking for the ideal IT services for your startup, why not consider our IT Landscape packages? Discover our complete approach to IT solutions, tailored to the needs of your business. Call us on 0345 521 6111 to find out more.

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