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Guide to Cyber Security Protection for Small Businesses

Cyber Security Training: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Businesses IT Systems Safe

The Importance of Cyber Security for Securing Business IT Systems

 

Make no mistake, cyber security measures are undervalued in the majority of businesses in the UK. 

 

Studies show that 40% of all cyber-attacks are targeted to SMEs, costing up to £115,000 in damages to a business. 

 

60% of these will go out of business as a result of the damage a cyber attack incurs.

 

The scariest part of this is that FraudWatch International found that 95% of all cyber security breaches came from human error.

 

These breaches are typically due to some of the same cyber attack tactics most business owners are aware of and have been for years. They include:

 

Phishing Scams – attempts to obtain your sensitive data disguised as a trustworthy entity or via digital communications. 95% of cyber breaches are a result of phishing scams! 

 

Social Engineering – the use of psychological manipulation to trick people into giving away sensitive data/information to con artists/hackers.

 

Malware – software intentionally developed to damage a computer and are often used to acquire data.

 

It’s also worth noting that security breaches to IT systems have increased since the covid-9 pandemic as we see an increase in businesses working from home due to the pandemic

 

It is therefore paramount for businesses to ensure that their IT infrastructure is safe across all aspects of the business. 

 

This includes the IT team, the processes you have in place to protect your IT infrastructure, the software and hardware used, but also the upskilling and on-going training of your staff too. 

 

Key Cyber Security Breaks That Are Causing Issues for Businesses

 

Whilst three main security breaches regularly occur to IT systems, there are plenty more IT security breaks that happen regularly. These include:

 

Ransomware: Different to malware as this tactic is used by cyber hackers to not necessarily damage the computer, but to attain key information and hold it to ransom to retrieve the information back.

 

Sub-Par Digital Transformation: As businesses look to digitally transform their operations, they will naturally look to apply the next generation of technology. AI, chatbots etc. have the potential to be compromised and can cause harm if not implemented correctly. 

 

Data-Leakage: This is continuing to be a problem within offices, especially where human error and a lacklustre attitude to cyber security is an issue. 

 

Human Error: If risks are taken, or staff haven’t been properly trained, breaches, social engineering and other scams are far more likely to be successful. This is why human error is a key issue for many cyber security professionals. 

 

The last issue is of real concern and begs the question – what needs to be done to ensure that your businesses cyber security infrastructure is sound from top to bottom?

Common IT Mistakes Staff Make that Can Be Resolved

 

In order to know what to train your staff in, businesses need to understand the threats to their cyber security from human error.

 

Believe it or not, these issues are often quite simple and make con artists/cyber hackers lives easy. From passwords to clicking phishing emails/texts, the chance for error when not educated is extremely high. 

 

Password Protection Poses a Real Problem for Cyber Protection

 

Passwords are one of the biggest threats to cyber security, even today. 

 

While innovations to technology have allowed for stronger security measures such as app-specific passwords and two-factor authentication, we generally still choose to pick easy-to-hack passwords and questions to answer. 

 

Often, the mistakes are made when human error is involved, as people use an obvious password, or use the same password for multiple accounts/software. 

 

Sending Sensitive Information to the Wrong Person

 

This happens! Without understanding the importance of handling sensitive information, we can be prone to carelessly handle data.  

 

This causes threats such as sending the information to the incorrect person or not securing the information before sending it.

 

Not Updating Their Software

 

Yes, it can be a slight burden having to save all your work and update your computer’s software, but this is a procedure used to ensure a software is up-to-date with the latest safety protocols. 

 

Businesses who invest in upgrades to their IT infrastructure at least have some form of defence against cyber security breaches. 

 

It’s important for staff to utilise this to ensure that their hardware and software are safe.

 

Lacking Knowledge of the Importance of Cyber Security

 

This is a result of a lack of education on the importance of cyber security. 

 

If a business has no strategy for IT security, it creates a blasé approach to data protection and IT security defences that will cascade down throughout the business. 

 

There could be a whole topic on the types of activity that result in lacking knowledge of IT security. 

 

These include using unsecure devices, a public Wi-Fi without a safe VPN or falling for phishing scams.

 

What’s Included in a Cyber Security Training Programme for Staff?

 

To avoid breaches to your cyber defences by human error, you can invest in cyber security training for your staff among other things such as cyber security audits by IT support specialists. 

 

No cyber security training programme should be off-the-shelf as no business is the same in the way they operate or the software and hardware that they use. 

 

When engaging an Oxford IT services company to roll out a cyber security training plan, this should bespoke to your businesses operations and goals. 

 

The reason for this is that a training programme needs to be tailored based on multiple variants. These include:

 

Staff Communication Style – it’s no good rolling out a PowerPoint presentation if this doesn’t engage your staff. Knowing how your team communicates and engages in their work can help tailor a training programme specific to their needs.

 

Business Operations – how a business operates and uses their various applications and hardware will naturally differ. 

 

Therefore, a good IT specialist will need to understand these processes and the subsequent operational journies to identify where strong threats could occur and to emphasise on them throughout the training. 

 

IT Software and Hardware – whether cloud-based, or downloadable apps; Windows 10 or OS13, cyber security administrators will need to know the hardware and software you use to tailor training scenarios and outcomes to these specific resources. 

 

Based on these variables, a comprehensive cyber defence training programme will include:

 

Common IT Scenarios: Training that provides realistic phishing scams to staff devices to see how they react and train based on the subsequent results

 

Signs of an IT Threat: Training on how to identify and respond to red flags or any potential incoming threats. 

 

Defensive Protocols: Understanding various defence protocols and how they protect you against scams. 

 

Social Engineering: Understanding how social engineering occurs and how to identify/protect against it. 

 

Cyber Security Action Plans: Tactics to help you assess security and take action where required. 

Benefits of Rolling Out an IT Security Training Programme 

 

When implementing an IT security training programme, businesses were found to reduce the impact of a cyber impact by 72% to the business. 

 

Research by Pensar found that return on investment from this type of training was 37 fold for the business.

 

This shows the commercial impact of implementing cyber security training in your business. 

 

However, for good measure, the outlined benefits of running these training programmes include:

 

Developing a Security-Focused Culture: Your aim should always be for your staff to buy into the company culture and core values. This should be from top-to-bottom. By showing the importance of and accountability all within the organisation have, you create a culture of security that keeps business data safe.

 

Reduce Human Error Risks Through Knowledge Acquisition: Naturally, creating an educated team will reduce the risk of human error. This will be due to acquiring insight and experience in identifying and stopping any potential threats to cybersecurity.

 

Give Ownership to Staff: By emphasising the impact human error can have on cybersecurity, you provide ownership to your team who will look to protect your businesses needs and their data. 

 

Reduce Downtime: By reducing issues caused by human error, you will experience less risk of cyber attacks and less downtime investigating or rectifying issues. 

 

Secure Your First Line of Defence: Make no qualms about it, your staff are your first line of defence against cyber security breaches. 

 

By upskilling them and increasing awareness, you reinforce your first line of defence and improve cyber security measures.

Requesting an IT Security Training Programme 

 

Here at Firstline IT, we deliver a tailored cyber security training programme to educate and reduce the risks that your business currently faces. To learn more about the service and how it could benefit you, please visit our cyber security training page. 

Alternatively, to find out more about our IT Support Services here at FirstLine IT, or how we could support your business, we welcome you to contact us today.

Want to discuss your organisation’s needs?

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Existing customer: 01865 598 100

New business:01865 598 145