How you can prevent cyber-crime from crippling your company

Email compromise, where a scammer impersonates a business to request payments be transferred into a scammer’s bank account, cost Australian businesses over $60 million in losses in 2018, a 170 per cent increase of $22.1 million in 2017.

Vigilance is key to protecting your business’s most valuable assets and this should be a year-long objective. Businesses need to be aware of the warning signs; have any of your suppliers suddenly changed their bank account details? Companies should remain wary and check if the change is legitimate by contacting the supplier over a different, reliable communication source before handing their cash over.

There are five security measures businesses should take against cyber-crime.  

Do you know if you’re at risk? The very first step to better protect your business against cyber-crime is to run a cyber risk assessment to find any security gaps, or any risks with your tech that could be hacked (i.e. servers, websites etc). The purpose of a cyber risk assessment is to measure your business overall risk level by understanding what sensitive information could be attractive to hackers.

Have you secured and locked-away your data? Setting up an automatic backup of your business data and files into a secure, off-site location will help protect your data in the long run. Make sure you always encrypt any sensitive information too. This will ensure that in the event of a cyber-attack, your organisation will be able to retrieve any information that is critical for business like financial records and customer details. On top of this, any data stolen will be indecipherable and therefore, worthless to

hackers.

Do you update your security software regularly? Safeguard your business’s computer systems against any malware issues by keeping your anti-virus and internet security software as up-to-date as possible. These types of applications should detect and prevent any software “infections” like unauthorised connections to your network, bugs or misconfigured server settings. You should also apply security patches (program updates designed to cover any security gaps on your computer system) to keep hackers out too.

How secure is your network connection? Help protect your computer systems with a VPN-capable firewall (protection for one network to another) to restrict any unauthorised access to your network. It’s also crucial to encrypt your Wi-Fi connection to protect the information you send over your wireless network from any outsiders, including cyber-criminals. You should also ensure that your router is password protected too.

Have you taken out cyber liability insurance? Your business could be up for a large chunk of cash, reputational damage and even legal action in the event of a cyber-attack. This is why cyber liability insurance is so important to have. This type of business insurance may not only help your organisation cover expenses when responding to a cyber-attack but also associated loss of profits from business disruption. This type of coverage could even help with your legal liability to third parties following a data breach.

Rod Attrill, Money Expert, comparethemarket.com.au

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