How to keep your business cyber-safe

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The Australian Government has launched a new guide to help small businesses stay safe from new and emerging cyber risks.

The Stay Smart Online Small Business Guide was launched in October as part of Stay Smart Online Week, and involved collaboration with ANZ, Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Telstra and Westpac.

Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said research commissioned by their department shows that only 2% of small business operators consider online business security a priority. Only 1 in 4 believed there was a risk of having their electronic system “held to ransom”.

The guide provides valuable tips for small business owners who want to make sure their business’s online security is up to scratch. When it comes to protecting against cyber-crime, you can’t be too careful. Download the full guide here or read our summary below.

In September 2015, Kmart Australia got into serious trouble when an “external privacy breach” was revealed – and the very next day, David Jones reported it had experienced a similar hack. Aussie Farmers Direct was hacked in late October. Hackers had been able to access customers’ identity details including email addresses, delivery and billing addresses, and phone numbers.

What follows are the main tips that business owners should take away from the guide, in order to prevent such cyber threats.

Passwords

We’ve been talking about it a lot this year in articles like this and this – because it’s important!

All of your computer and portable devices need strong passwords. All of your business information also needs to be protected by strong passwords.

Back-ups

It goes without saying that you need to regularly back-up all of your business information and data.

Technology has made backing up your business data easier than ever before. Use a removable storage device, so that you can take your back-up home with you at the end of the day.

You should also sign up for a reputable cloud-based service, so that even if your computer literally blows up, you can buy a new computer and recover your information from the internet. Just make sure that cloud-based back-up is password protected.

Confidentiality

Keep your friends close, and your information closer.

When it comes to software and back-ups, look for applications that let you set up multiple log-ins for “administrator” level access and “user” level access. Avoid using software where you can only create one log-in and all your employees can access all of your business information and data.

Awareness

Make sure that your employees, business partners, suppliers, even family stay up-to-date on the latest scams to look out for. Regularly check the government’s ScamWatch website for the latest phishing scams.

Keep in touch with the daily news so that you know when a new, better way of doing your business security is developed or launched.

Network and device security

Choose anti-virus software that works and has a regular automatic update, so you can’t forget to update it to protect against new threats. Never use public Wi-Fi.

Less than half of businesses (48%) in the Department of Communications’ study said they keep their software up to date.

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