4,500 cyber attacks on businesses in the UK are successful

With all the talk about strong passwords and educating staff not to fall for phishing emails, you could be forgiven for thinking that the age of security software had passed.

But while it’s true that the biggest cyber-security breaches in recent years have mostly been caused by human error – clicking on a phishing email, setting an all-too-easily-guessable password, sharing email accounts – that’s only because other cyber-attacks have been thwarted by efficient and up-to-date security software.

Cyber-attacks continue to rise with no signs of abating, and the GDPR legislation now in force puts the onus of protecting data firmly on the companies holding it. So if you run a small business, it should be a priority to make sure your IT systems are as safe as they can be with full IT support.

Cyber Security Software – Worth The Expense

It’s worth noting that while there has been a 90% increase in cyber attacks to small businesses globally, since 2020. Additionally, it’s expected that cyber crime could have a global cost of $10.5 trillion – roughly £7.5bn by 2025.

Businesses in the UK who suffer from cyber security breaches average up to £115k in unplanned for damages. Ultimately, this can be the difference in going bankrupt.

It is paramount that IT security planning is in place and that budgeting meetings include some form of time associated to mapping out IT support and security budgeting and planning. This is a must-have merely to ensure a business has some form of IT security compliance in place to make sure it doesn’t fall foul to being one of the 4,500 successful cyber security attacks in the UK each year.

So what security software do you need? It’s a good idea to think of it in terms of layers.

Minimum IT Software Protection

As an absolute minimum you should install antivirus software as a first line of  IT defence against viruses and Trojan Horse programs.

Spam filters are not 100% effective, but they do limit the amount of spam emails which could contain malicious code or dodgy links.

Anti-phishing software aims to detect phishing content in emails, though it may not be effective against a targeted attack.

You should also have a firewall that monitors and filters traffic from the internet into your business network.

Finally, you should consider spyware protection. This is also referred to as malware. This are installed onto your computer without you knowing and is used to harness information that can be used in many incredulous ways. Anti-Spyware software is used to detect their presence on your computer or  prevent/remove them for your system.

Interestingly, one of the main things spyware beyond acquiring important information, is studying your computing behaviour. This has been known to be used to tailor digital advertising based on your online behaviour.

Additional Cyber Security Protection

Endpoint Security Software

The minimum protection suggested above covers your ‘traditional’ IT security network of desktop or laptop computers.

However, there is every chance that you and your staff are connecting with the network using any number of devices, including smartphones, tablets, or other business-specific technology, such as hand-held POS devices. All of these devices need to be covered with Endpoint security.

Endpoint security protection covers the entire security network from device and asset security management through to remote devices and even client devices. This is the perfect IT security software solution for the Internet of Things and securing all devices.

Secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a popular choice for businesses with multiple offices or staff who work remotely. Given the switch to working from home due to the pandemic, businesses are turning to more remote working solutions.

Working from home is expected to grow to double pre-pandemic levels once the crisis is over. If this is to be the case, then businesses will need to double down on their IT cybersecurity systems to ensure that they remain cyber secure.

VPNs help IT security systems for remote workers by connecting via the internet, but your communications are protected as if by a tunnel through the cloud. Some VPNs have vulnerabilities at the connection points, though, so make sure you get advice from an experienced provider before installing.

Belt and Braces Approach to Cyber Security

Encryption IT Protection

Sounds terrifyingly complicated and as if it belongs in a James Bond film. However, this isn’t as draconian in style you might think.

However, you are already using encryption by default if you are using any cloud services. To be specific, if you’re using WhatsApp messaging, this application uses encryption to secure messaging from releasing harmful data. So it’s not all bad.

Encryption protection allows the service-provider to have the ‘key’, so if you are storing any personal or sensitive data, you should add your own encryption software on top of this. This allows for double-layered encryption to your data and information.

Additionally, you can use encryption protection protocols to strengthen your businesses remote working situations as encryption is used to protect data integrity.

At what level does your security software stop – and what protection are you missing? Contact us for an informal chat or a complete cybersecurity audit.

Firstline IT is an Oxford IT support company, providing IT support and solutions for small businesses through to large businesses. Contact us today to talk to one of our dedicated IT experts and how we can help protect your business against cyber threats and provide expert IT Support.