It is estimated that a cyber-attack could cost a small business in excess of £3000. That is some expense! The hacking and theft of our business and/or personal information is a huge fear for most of us and it is definitely worth the time and effort to get some steps in place to protect your information. There is also research that dictates that 45% of small businesses could be at threat from an attack. Another good reason to get some simple steps in place to protect your information.
Many blame ‘the cloud’ for this but it is not generally the case. Most cloud companies have extremely good security measures in place to protect your data. We are more likely to be at threat from a phishing email cleverly disguised as an official email from a bank, for example, than someone hacking into our cloud accounting software to get to your bank. You reply to the phishing email with details of your account, or click on links asking you for passwords opens you up to greater risk than simply using the cloud.
More often than not cloud software can track abnormalities in your account and alert you to crime before it actually happens, putting a stop to anything serious. This is down to extremely clever programming that will seek out things that are not normal to your usual pattern of use. For example your account being accessed via a different device, or from a different country.
Another benefit of using cloud technology is that security patches can be applied quickly and effectively by the service provider out to all their customers at the click of a button. On legacy* services we run onsite by ourselves, this action can take weeks, months or even years to patch and is done less often by the service provider.
*In case you weren’t sure when we say legacy system we mean an old method, technology, computer system, or application program that is installed on your servers and runs entirely onsite for you. These software systems are more likely to have security issues caused by malware (malicious software including viruses).
Of course even when we are using up to date cloud systems at some point the buck stops with us to make sure that we are buying cloud services from reputable companies with the correct security in place and that we are protecting our passwords, training our staff to be aware and setting the right administration settings on the software itself.
A great resource for free advice on protecting small businesses (and for your personal data) against cyber-crime can be found on the National Cyber Security Centres website www.ncsc.gov.uk. The national Cyber Security Centre is part of GCHQ. On their website they share a whole host of information including free small business guides, blogs, articles and PDFs. There is also news on the latest threats.
In their small business cyber security guide they cover 5 topics that are easy to understand and cost little to implement. If you’re concerned about the software systems you are using, particularly for your accounting records give us a call and we can give you some friendly advice.