How to prevent hacking

Authored by Hiscox Experts.
3 min read
Person looking at figures on their cellphone and laptop
Think your business is too small to be hacked? Think again. Phishing scams and ransomware are increasingly targeted at small businesses on the assumption that they’re less prepared than bigger companies.

Why is cyber security important?

Personal data, such as credit-card information that you hold on behalf of customers, is often a target of cyber criminals, potentially compromising the trust and loyalty of the people who deal with you. With 45% of SMEs suffering a security breach in 2016[1], it’s clear that you need to know how to protect your business from cyber crime.

Matthew Webb, Head of technology, cyber and data underwriting at Hiscox UK, explains why small businesses are increasingly becoming victims.

“Criminals are increasingly looking to the low-hanging fruit that is the small-business community as their next target. Partly because their defences often aren’t as secure as those of larger companies but also because they know that the impact, particularly from ransomware, is felt much more acutely, so they are likely to get their desired outcome – that is, the payment of the ‘ransom’.”

How to prevent cyber crime

If you run a small business, cyber security is just as important as the security of the premises you operate from. Below are the things you should consider to protect your business from the various threats you could face from a cyber attack.

Reinforce passwords – How to prevent hacking

You’ve heard it many times – passwords are important. The strongest are made up of three or more unrelated words, with a hearty dose of numbers, symbols and caps thrown in. Above all, make sure your email and online banking passwords are bulletproof. If someone hacks into your email, they could easily crack into nearly all your other accounts, too.

Do an IT MOT: Keep cyber security software up to date

Install antivirus and malware software on all company equipment and make sure staff keep on top of their security upgrades. If you’re not totally comfortable with how it all works, don’t ignore it; get an expert in to help or at least take a look at the information on the government’s Cyber Streetwise website.

Train your team: People are often the weakest link

It takes just one member of staff opening a dodgy email attachment to bring down your security. Build your human firewall – educate everyone on cyber risks, teach them what a malicious email looks like and make information security part of your culture.

Consider insurance: Protect your cash and your customers

This should be a no-brainer if your business is based on technology, especially if you hold sensitive customer data. Hiscox cyber and data risks insurance offers not just financial compensation but helps minimise damage to the business and its reputation.

Knowing how to prevent cyber attacks is an important part of protecting your business. Put the correct protection in place and you can rest assured your business is safe.

To find out some simple ways you can shore up your online security, watch this video we’ve created together with Courier.

Hiscox Video shape

Download our PDF Guide:

[1] ‘Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2016’, HM Government

At Hiscox, we want to help your small business thrive. Our blog has many articles you may find relevant and useful as your business grows. But these articles aren’t professional advice. So, to find out more on a subject we cover here, please seek professional assistance.

Hiscox Experts

The Hiscox Experts are leaders valued for their experience within the insurance industry. Their specialisms include areas such as professional indemnity and public liability, across industries including media, technology, and broader professional services. All content authored by the Hiscox Experts is in line with our editorial guidelines.