Long gone are the days of cyberattacks being isolated affairs that target big businesses in an attempt to rock their pedestal – nowadays, everyone is at risk. When it was reported that two out of three UK businesses felt they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves against a data breach, it highlighted a major cybersecurity problem. With new reports of attacks seeming to appear daily, nearly two billion records were leaked in January alone. We’re in the midst of a cybersecurity epidemic.

Time, then, to build up the barricades and crackdown on cyberattacks. Your business, whether it’s the size of British Airways or Marriott, or an independent SME, is likely to find itself in the sights of a cybercriminal at some point. Here’s how to stay protected.

The simple stuff

Many cybersecurity measures go without saying and will be painfully obvious to most business owners. Having things as simple as firewalls and anti-virus software in place can go a long way to keeping basic threats at bay and shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re only effective for as long as they’re in date though, so keeping on top of updates – and that goes for all software – is a must.

Do your employees use their own laptops, tablets or mobile phones for their jobs? If they do, you need to implement a Bring Your Own Devices policy. This was reaffirmed by the introduction of the GDPR in May of last year and will be of particular importance to you if you hire freelance employees. We’ve previously explored the impact of the gig economy on cybersecurity, and with 1.5 million people predicted to enter the world of freelance work in the 12 months following May of 2018, it becomes a much more pressing concern.

Staff training

Did you know that 95 per cent of cyberattacks come down to human error? It’s a staggering figure that makes the need for better staff training stick out like a sore thumb. Attacks that happen via phishing emails have risen exponentially, with members of staff being duped into clicking malicious links in their inbox, essentially giving cybercriminals the keys to your business’ data.

By adding a cybersecurity element to your existing staff training process, employees will be more aware of the risks and the role they play in keeping your organisation safe. You could start with Google’s simple phishing quiz – work through it in small groups, discuss the outcomes and highlight where people have been caught out. Regularly backing up data, changing passwords and updating software are also simple tasks that take seconds to carry out, but are far too often overlooked simply because staff aren’t aware of their importance.

Talent acquisition

By 2022, there is forecast to be 350,000 vacancies within the cybersecurity sector. There is an alarming skills gap within tech anyway, but it’s at a particular tipping point within this discipline. While you can train staff to remain vigilant when it comes to threats, as your business grows it may be wise to consider bringing in the specialists. White hat hackers will soon find their place within business across the globe.

As the old adage says: if you can’t beat them, join them. The Global Legal Hackathon is taking place this month, and hiring a white hat hacker replicates this event on a much smaller scale. A white hat is essentially an ethical hacker – they come into your organisation and attempt to breach your systems in order to expose frailties before the ‘black hats’ get there. The big high street banks, including Santander and Natwest, host their very own hackathons to do the exact same. Hackers know what they’re looking for and how to expose weaknesses far better than your everyday IT professional, and even though you may not have the facilities to bring in a permanent employee just yet, consider hosting your own hackathon one evening.

If you’re looking to acquire the best cybersecurity talent around, we can help with your search. Visit our contact page, email [email protected] or call 02920 375599 today to discuss your requirements.