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Why is Cyber Security Important?

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Australian Cyber Security and the importance of security audits and security implementation.

Why is cyber security important?

Having the right cyber security is incredibly important. If you don’t have the right security then your business’s and your client’s data is compromised. It’s really important that you protect yourself from unwanted cyber-attacks. With businesses relying more and more on technology, protecting your data is way too important to leave to chance. You need to safeguard your business and take a proactive approach.

Small to medium-sized businesses are at the greatest risk of cyber attacks, with estimates that just under half of the cyber-attacks are directed at small businesses. Alarmingly only 14 per cent of businesses are prepared for an attack. An attack can cost you immediately and it can also cost your business its reputation. We have all heard stories about multinational corporations having data leaks. As a small business, you simply cannot afford to risk your business reputation or your clients’ sensitive information.

Some business leaders are taking a proactive approach which immediately helps them reduce the threat of a cyber-attack. It can also help them increase brand trust and potentially lead to innovation.

So what exactly are the main areas of focus for cyber security today?

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in remote work, with more and more people relying on technology to work. Cybercriminals have exploited that so with an increasing reliance on technology it’s more important than ever before to protect your business from unwanted cyber-attacks.

The first aspect of cyber security that you need to look at is your network security. Your network essentially refers to protecting your devices, data and network from data breaches.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is through the implementation of a firewall that will control the traffic to and from your network. It’s essential that you have the highest level of security settings and permissions.

You need to secure your hardware. Again, with employees working remotely there is an increased risk that devices could be stolen, so you need to protect them in case they were stolen. To minimise the risk of sensitive information should your hardware be stolen you need to keep it up to date. Older hardware may be unsupported, for example, whenever Apple releases a new piece of hardware they generally stop supporting their older models soon after, which means the older hardware cannot be updated to the most current software.

Software also needs to be updated regularly.  If you’re not running the latest anti-virus or anti-spyware software you run a greater risk of your hardware being infected with malware which can compromise your entire network and could be very costly. You should always update your software as soon as there’s a new release. This will ensure you have maximum protection from the latest threats.

It’s important to constantly review your security processes. This means that you should establish a clear set of protocols and procedures for dealing with technology within your business. You should have an onboarding procedure. What information will new staff members have access to? Will they be permitted to take company hardware home? What will you do when the staff members leave? When they are working from home or outside of your company office such as at a cafe will they have to connect to a VPN or will they be allowed to use their own network? It’s worth considering all these things because it protects you and your business from threats.

What about file sharing? Are your staff members allowed to download files from the internet? Will every file they download be checked with anti-virus software? What about emails? Are emails permitted from outside your network? Some companies set up safe lists so that suspicious emails are not allowed into the network. A safe list is a list of emails that is pre-determined as being safe.

While sometimes it’s better to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to your business’s technology you should adopt a zero-trust approach. You should always assume that someone is trying to breach your system. Make sure you have double authentication so that only authorised users can access information. If you have contractors accessing information give them limited access and when they’ve finished the job terminate their access. If new staff members will be given company property then ensure they sign an agreement that they will return it upon finishing their work with the company.

Technology will be new for some staff members to ensure that all of them are trained in the latest processes and network security. Make sure that they know what threats to look out for such as when an email comes in and it looks like it’s from a bank, and teach them to actually check the address so they can identify if it’s malicious.

When you invest in your cyber security you are investing in your business’s future. By maintaining good cyber security you can more easily detect cyber threats. By detecting them you can respond to them and stop any entry points from being exploited.

You can also protect yourself against internal threats whether they’re caused by accident, negligence or malice. It’s best to heed on the side of caution. If your staff use personal devices then make it a requirement that they are updated with the latest software and verify that they delete any information when they finish working at your company.

When you have robust security you can improve your productivity because your staff can focus on their work. There won’t be any interruptions. If there was a data or software breach then your staff may not have access to their devices for several days, if not weeks while the issue was rectified.

It is cheaper to prevent than to respond to a cyber threat. A cyber threat can cost your company thousands of dollars whereas preventing it may only cost a few hundred dollars.

The bottom line is that cyber security is incredibly important for the future of your business and you need to take it seriously.

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