An average of one billion pounds was spent online every week in January 2017 and with such huge figures changing hands electronically comes an increased risk of retail businesses falling victim to cyber-attack and online fraud. UK businesses lost almost 30 billion pounds to cyber-crime in 2016 – and according to the British Retail Consortium, more than 50 per cent of reported fraud in the retail industry is cyber-enabled.
The potential for an attack has become even more real and immediate due to the sheer number of mobile phones in the world, which is expected to exceed six billion by 2020. And that risk is heightened even further this month when online spending records are likely to be broken once again. Most cyber-attacks exploit basic vulnerabilities in IT systems and software but by following these guidelines you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim yourself.
Cybercrime costs the global economy up to $575 billion annually. Large businesses, small businesses, sole proprietorships – no enterprise is immune to having their data or systems compromised. The potential for an attack has become more personal and immediate due to the proliferation of mobile phones in the world, which is expected to exceed 6 billion by 2020.
Most cyber-attacks exploit basic vulnerabilities in IT systems and software. Prevent these attacks in your business with the five below tips.
1. Update outdated operating systems
The likes of Google, Microsoft and Apple are constantly offering updates to their operating systems. For example, Microsoft ended support for both Vista and Office 2007 this year, meaning that those operating systems are more open to hacking and exploitation.
Make sure every OS your business uses is up to date, as these will help protect user data and to restrict cyber criminals from taking advantage of weaknesses. Get rid of that defunct technology!
2. Restrict access to vital information
Limiting access to sensitive information to only key stakeholders is an important step in defence against cyber attacks. Not everyone needs access to sensitive data sets, so by restricting its availability, you minimise the risks of this data being exposed to attacks or malicious activity.
Do an audit of your present access and amend accordingly.
3. Protect and back up your data
Apart from the fact that you are required by law to protect data you hold about your customers, partners etc. (and don’t get us started on GDPR), upholding and maintaining this data is important from a security perspective too.
As your data assets (such as files, pertinent information and other resources) are likely the lynchpin of your business, protection increases if you regularly back up your data. You’ll thank yourself in the case of an invasion where data is lost.
4. Ensure systems have appropriate firewall and antivirus technology
This applies to both new and existing technology. Take some time to evaluate the security settings on the software you utilise in your business, which will include web browsers and email programs. When selecting new software, make sure you choose system options that meet your business needs without increasing risk.
5. Train your staff
Your business security risks don’t just comprise of the hardware and software you use; the people who use it are the ones most likely to put your business at risk.
Ensure they are aware of cyber security risks, as well as how to help protect your business: such as how to recognise email phishing scams, using intelligent passwords and general information security. Educate them on the importance of the information they handle to help reduce exposure to the business.
Litmos Heroes is releasing a series of cyber-security skills courses designed to educate and protect businesses and their customers from online crime. Find out more about cybersecurity and get a free trial today!