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From reviewing your policies, performing an IT audit and training employees – find out some of the key measures to make sure your business is protected against cyber threats.

Companies and business leaders in the IT space have been increasingly raising awareness about cybersecurity, bringing up some of the most common threats and gaps in IT security for businesses, to help them to step up with the latest solutions.

Cybersecurity has taken the spotlight recently more than ever, because hackers and malicious attackers take no rest, and the threats are only becoming greater. The latest figures from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), 37% of companies reported a data breach incident between 2019 and 2020. Other reports have shown that, every day, around 65,000 attempts to SMEs and SMBs occur in the UK every day, and around 4,500 of them are successful.

With the global switch to remote working, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, many organisations were caught unprepared for the challenges. Personal computers typically lack the security levels that organisations require as standard, which has left employees and companies vulnerable to malicious attacks.

It stands to reason that the time is right to talk about the importance of IT security and remind companies that it is vital to stay vigilant.

Here’s a list of Top 5 Tips for protecting your employees, your IT systems, and your organization as a whole.

How to protect your business from common cyber threats

1. Set up & review security policies

Establishing IT security policies is essential for all companies, big or small. Having security policies in place can ensure that your networks are strong and stay protected against threats.

One of the most important factors in security protocols is about handling sensitive data. Do your employees know how to protect sensitive data or personally identifiable information? If this isn’t clear, there’s an important gap to take care of. Data protection must be a top priority for every business.

As part of security policies, businesses should also have provisions for using IT disaster recovery services in case of any incidents.

2. Perform IT Security Audits

Full security assessments and strategic analysis go a long way for businesses find gaps and potential issues in security. Once the risks are identified, it’s much easier to establish next steps for protecting the organisation, employees, and infrastructure.

Recent figures from the UK government showed that only 35% of businesses in the UK have performed a cyber risk assessment. Considering that 46% of businesses had reported cyber attacks or breaches in the past 12 months, the number of risk assessments and audits should be much higher.

Cybersecurity audits usually take a deep look at the current system setup for a business, to identify weaknesses and detect potential risks.

Then, an IT audit of internal processes should follow, including a thorough look at password management and firewall security.

For security measures to be effective, they have to go in line with the needs of every company. Every business is different, so their cybersecurity requirements must respond to their specific ways of operating.

Business owners and IT managers have a duty to find security solutions that specifically meet the demands of the business.

If you are unsure or don’t have an in-house IT resource, get in touch with IT experts who can help you to run the necessary checks to assess the level of protection of the company, identify any gaps and implement security measures.

3. Update your IT systems and software regularly

System updates are one of those things that often get on the list of ‘to do things’, and that are constantly being postponed. There is always time for that later, right? Wrong.

Updating IT systems and software is really important and it’s a task that should be prioritised. Cyber attacks are constantly evolving and getting more sophisticated, and hackers are always looking for new ways to invade your IT systems.

So, it’s crucial that business owners stay on top of the risks. Computer software and systems are constantly making updates available to make their applications stronger.

Keeping up with the updates is part of taking your IT systems seriously. Updates will help you to stay away from bugs and gaps and keep your systems in good shape, better prepared against risks.

4. Train your staff

Training your team to be aware of cybersecurity and potential risks helps a great deal in protecting your company and resources.

Things like knowing how to identify phishing emails or keeping mailboxes secure may seem basic steps, but the truth is that not everyone has the knowledge or understands some of the most basic security measures.

Cybercriminals rely on human error to access IT systems and cause harm. In many instances, companies don’t train workers properly against potential threats. When employees aren’t vigilant, can leave systems vulnerable to attacks.

Sufficient training for your team should cover the basics of how to establish and keep their passwords secure and protected, and instruct them about the risks of clicking on suspicious links or phishing emails.

Businesses that make the effort in promoting cybersecurity awareness amongst their employees are better prepared, by encouraging best practice and an IT security culture where teams know how to spot suspicious activity.

5. Get an Incident Response Plan

Nobody likes to think about the bad things, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared for the worst case scenario. Businesses should have provisions for disaster recovery in place, for the unfortunate event when incidents happen.

This can be particularly important for small businesses. An incident response strategy should outline what a company needs to do in the event of an attack. Employees should be aware of how to act and what steps to follow if things go wrong.

IT teams must be responsible for conducting tests that show the response to various cyber-attacks – and include IT disaster recovery services as a core part of the plan.

Make sure your IT partner works closely with you to find the best solution for your specific objectives, and in line with your budget!

This article originally appeared on Euro Systems and has been republished with permission.