Small business needs to improve cybersecurity awareness

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There have been many reports lately of cyberattacks and data security breaches. The attacks on large businesses and government tend to get the most publicity but small businesses are also falling victim to cyberattacks.

A survey by internet security firm Norton suggests that Australian small businesses need to be better prepared. The survey was taken in October 2017 and had responses from just over one thousand Australian businesses with between 1 and 20 employees.

The survey found that in 2017, 1 in 4 Australian small businesses reported being victims of cybercrime, up from 1 in 5 the previous year.

Despite the increased threat and the publicity of attacks such as the WannaCry global ransomware attack in May last year, 20% of small businesses reported that they back up their data only once a month or less. This is even more troubling considering that over a third of the businesses surveyed said that they could not continue to operate for more than a week without critical data.

So what should businesses do to ensure their data is protected?

They should act now before it is too late – acting after an incident will not protect the business. The loss of data is likely to result in business interruption that can be very costly or even lead to the closure of the business if key data cannot be recovered.

Norton emphasises that small businesses need to ensure their software is always up to date. Outdated software can leave a business vulnerable to cyberattacks. The use of strong passwords to protect all devices is also essential. These passwords should also be changed regularly to maintain security. Using simple terms such as the business name or naïve phrases such as “password1” will not be sufficient to keep out cyber criminals.

The advent of the Internet of Things will bring many more connected devices and increase the potential for security breaches. Businesses need to ensure they have security in place to protect their data and systems.

Interested in reading more about cyber-security and the Internet of Things? The BI Research Connected World Report is coming soon.

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