Easy ways to protect your business from cyber attacks


With technology moving as fast as it is, and our reliance on it becoming greater, it really doesn’t come as a surprise that Internet security is fast becoming an aspect of business that we can’t ignore.

However, a majority of us think our enterprises are too small for anyone to want to attack them, but the numbers give a different story. About 43 per cent of cyber attacks in the US were targeted at small businesses, up from 18 per cent in 2011. And there’s also been an uptick in personal attacks across the globe, with emails and social media accounts particularly vulnerable.

With the limited human capital small business tend to have, securing IT infrastructure can be difficult without the luxury of a team of security experts constantly monitoring and responding to network breaches.

All’s not lost though, since there are some things you can do to secure your data resources, both personal and business. The best form of protection is to develop a culture of cyber security, even if you don’t think you’re at risk.

There are the basics: cover your laptop camera with a simple sticker if you’re not using it, keep your password personal and change it frequently, and use different passwords for different sites. And then there are the following three ways to prevent more sophisticated cyber attacks.

1. Piracy isn’t worth it

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One of the key elements of prevention is to buy genuine, non-pirated software. There’s the saying that if a product is free, you are the product. With pirated software, this is true since the person providing the software could have infected it with malware that leaves you vulnerable to an attack or data mining. Buying genuine software means you get it from a trusted source and have access to updates should the firm later realise there’s a threat.

2. Make it active

The second part of prevention is to invest in regularly updated antivirus software that constantly monitors and protects your computer from any malware. In Kenya, the easiest brands to access are Kaspersky, Norton and Eset. You also have the option of installing a firewall that prevents network access from outside your institution.

3. Stay alert

A third way to prevent cyber attacks is through managing your staff and increasing their awareness of security measures. Sensitise them on the importance of the data in your business, the effects of a cyber attack and how best to prevent one. Ensure your staff know to scan personal USB flash drives before using them; to secure their mobile devices with a password and remote security, and wipe functions if they use their personal smartphones to transact on the business’ behalf; and know to use a secure connection when accessing company resources from outside the business premises. Alternatively, you could choose to limit whom you allow to access your data to minimise exposure.

Further, back up all important data either offsite or in the office. It may not prevent an attack, but it will save you should your data ever be compromised.

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