10 ways to protect your business from a cyber attack

Submitted by Matthew on 21 November, 2016 - 09:25 with 0 comment

10 ways to protect your business from a cyber attack

If your business comes under cyber attack, the consequences can be serious: you could find yourself held to ransom, unable to operate your business or access your systems, having to spend time restoring your IT systems and website, losing customers, suffering damage to your reputation and even receiving fines or facing legal action for failing to keep customer data secure.

Here are ten ways you can protect your company from attack and minimise the damage if the worst does happen.

1. Use strong passwords
The Government’s Cyber Aware campaign recommends using stong passwords made up of three random short words You can also use a combination of capital and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, You should never use anything which may be easy to guess by looking at your social media pages such as:

  • Current partner’s name
  • Child’s name
  • Other family members’ name
  • Pet’s name
  • Place of birth
  • Favourite holiday
  • Something related to your favourite sports team

You should change your password at least every 90 days and never share passwords with anyone else, including members of staff.

2. Put up a strong firewall
To protect your network properly, you must have an effective firewall controlling the internet traffic coming into and out of your business.


3. Install antivirus protection
Antivirus and anti-malware software are essential tools to protect your IT systems.



4. Update your programs regularly
There is little point in installing anti-virus software if you do not keep it up to date. Frequently updating your programs makes sure your protection includes any recent issues or holes that programmers have found and fixed.


5. Secure your laptops and mobile devices
Because of their portable nature, laptops, phones and other mobile devices are at a higher risk of being lost or stolen than company desktops.


  • Use encryption software so that the data on laptops and mobile devices cannot be read without the correct password.
  • Never leave laptops or devices in vehicles where they are an easy target for thieves.
  • Password protect all your devices to make access more difficult for thieves.
  • Enable remote wiping so that if you discover a company device has been stolen, the data can be wiped before it falls into the wrong hands.

6. Be careful with email and instant messaging
Be aware that emails or messages might not be from who they claim to be. Be on the lookout for suspicious links on emails or instant messages that you were not expecting. Clicking links is the most common way that malware finds its way onto a computer.


7. Backup regularly
Schedule regular backups to an external hard drive, or in the cloud, to ensure that all your data is stored safely.

Ideally, servers and personal computers should have a complete backup weekly, with incremental backups daily or every few days depending on the type of data stored and how your business needs to use it.

If your data is compromised or your system damaged by a cyber attack, having it all backed up so you don't lose everything will make the situation easier to deal with.

8. Monitor your systems diligently
You can use data-leakage prevention software, set up at key points to look for specific information coming out of your internal network. It can be configured to look for credit card numbers, pieces of code, or any bits of information relevant to your business that would indicate a breach.

The sooner you can identify a breach has taken place, the sooner you can act to rectify it and minimise the damage to your business.

9. Educate your employees.
Make sure your employees understand how important your company's data is, and all the measures they can take to protect it. Always encourage staff to use strong passwords and not to share them. When a member of staff leaves the company, it is very important to delete their user accounts from the system to prevent any unauthorised access.

The Government offers free cyber security training for businesses www.gov.uk/government/collections/cyber-security-training-for-business

10. Protect your company with Cyber and Data risk insurance
Even if you take all the measures possible to protect your company’s systems and data, a determined hacker may still be able to get in. If your business is hacked, cyber and data risk insurance can provide you with financial compensation and give you with access to a team of experts who will work with you to minimise your losses and the possible damage to your business.


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Watkin Davies Insurance Consultants are one of Wales’ largest Independent Insurance Brokers, established in 1978 by Roger Watkins. Since this time we have become one of the leading Commercial and Personal Insurance Brokers in the region and the trusted insurance advisor to hundreds of Welsh and UK businesses and individuals.

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