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5 tips for protecting your business from cyberthreat

When was the last time you thought about cybersecurity? Chances are, it’s not the first thing on your radar. But, unfortunately, that could be a costly mistake. SMEs are more vulnerable to cyberthreat than ever before. 

The Australian Cybersecurity Centre 2020-2021 report shows cybercrime is rising. 67,500 cybercrimes were reported last financial year, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous year, and losses totalled more than $33 billion. And our reliance on digital technology during the pandemic meant criminals took the chance to wreak havoc! 

So cybercrime is on the rise, but what are the risks to small businesses? One of the most significant issues is the loss of sensitive data. What if your competitors got hold of your intellectual property? Or your personal information was used for illegal activity? These security breaches put your business at financial and legal risk. 

Cybercrime can also disrupt supply chains. For example, look what’s happening to the agriculture industry criminals are targeting agriculture businesses, and the impact has been farreaching. Recovering from cybercrime is not only costly but stressful, so it’s important to consider. 

Cybercrime can have considerable effects on business, including:

  • Identity theft & fraud
  • Loss of sensitive data 
  • Business disruption
  • Stolen money 
  • Extortion  
  • Fines and penalties from a privacy breach
  • Reputational damage 

“It doesn’t matter who you are, all the way from the White House down, everyone gets attacked, no matter how big or small you are.”

  •   Nigel Stewart, Australian Wool Exchange IT manager

Cyber threats you should have on your radar 

Scam emails, messages or calls (phishing)

Chances are you’ve experienced a scam email, message or call. Unfortunately, these scams are getting more persuasive, with even the savviest people getting tricked into giving their information. 

 Malicious Software (Malware)

Malware is malicious software, including viruses, spyware, trojans and worms. These are developed to steal sensitive data, commit fraud, and disrupt business. Once the malware has infiltrated your system, you’re in trouble. 

Ransomware

Ransomware is malware that locks your computer or stops your devices from working. Hackers will ask for money in exchange for removing the malware. Ransomware is found in suspicious emails, links or files, as well as websites. 

How can you protect your small business from cybercrime?

Awareness is imperative, and prevention is key. Cybersecurity should be part of normal business practice, not an afterthought. So how can you boost security right now?

Make sure your technology is up to date 

How old is your IT system? Regularly updating your software is one way to reduce the risk of a cyber attack. Criminals continuously find weaknesses in systems; the older your programs, the more likely they’ll know how to get in.

 Limit access to sensitive data 

It’s a good idea to limit the number of people with access to sensitive information. Of course, it goes without saying to only give out your passwords to staff you trust, but it’s also a matter of reducing how many devices are open to threat. 

Back up your data 

What would you do if your computers were wiped? Would you lose valuable information? What about your customers’ details? Protect yourself and your customers by regularly backing up. 

Invest in cyber insurance

Cybercrime can not only mean your information and reputation are on the line, but you’re responsible for paying for IT investigations, lawyers, PR consultants and more. It can cost over 200,000 to recover from a cyber incident. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself with adequate commercial business insurance

Create complex passwords

‘Password123’ – you would be surprised by how relaxed people are with their passwords. Don’t make it easy for hackers to guess your password. Instead, create hard-to-crack passwords or invest in a password management system to increase your security. 

Hire a professional to evaluate risks 

Does cybersecurity all seem too much? Overwhelm and time constraints can often be why business owners fail to prioritise cybersecurity. Why not take the responsibility off your hands and hire an expert to assess your risks and make recommendations. 

Want to know more about cyber security insurance? Call us at (08) 6279 2300 or email us at info@cwib.com.au.