One in four businesses reported a cyber breach or attack in the past 12 months according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2016, Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The impact of a cyber breach or attack can be huge. There’s the time you lose through having to fix your website and systems, the potential loss of customers, damage to your reputation and all the other potential consequences of a hacker getting their hands on your data.

This makes the latest Government statistics from Ipsos MORI all the more surprising – that only one in three Britons (35 per cent) is following the Government’s latest advice to use strong passwords made up of three random words. According to the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ, it’s one of the most important actions you can take to protect yourself from cybercrime.

The good news is that protecting your business from hackers and viruses does not have to take a lot of time, work or money. Cyber Aware is encouraging small businesses across the UK to do two simple things which can help improve their online security:

  • Use three random words to create a strong password. Hackers can use your email to gain access to all your personal and business accounts. Your most important accounts are your email, social media and online banking; you should also use separate passwords for your business and home accounts
  • Always download the latest software updates. They contain vital security upgrades which help protect your device from viruses and hackers. And if you don’t think you have anything worth stealing, think again. Cyber criminals can profit from anything from your email contacts to your databases.

Cyber Essentials should also be on your ‘must do list’. It’s a Government-backed and industry-supported ‘standard’, which protects your business against the most common online threats. It sets out five controls which will significantly reduce your company’s vulnerability to cybercrime, and is suitable for organisations of all sizes and all sectors. Not only will your business be more secure as a result, you will be able to display a badge demonstrating you follow a government-endorsed standard, giving you a distinct edge over competitors. Cyber Essentials certification is already mandatory for many Government contracts and many large firms now require the same of their suppliers.

Business owners are being urged to no longer see cyber security as a purely IT or technical issue. What they must understand is that it is ‘business critical’ and policies and action must be embedded. After all, it’s become a big issue for consumers with 58 per cent saying they would be deterred from using a business hit by a cyber attack and that figure rises to 89 per cent for procurement managers, according to research by Cyber Aware and KPMG, Small Business Reputation and Cyber Risk.

Cybercrime is a serious threat to the UK and the Government is taking action to increase public awareness of the risk. The Government will invest £1.9 billion to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security. The National Cyber Security Programme will support the aims of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy over the next five years and reflects the importance the Government places on robust cyber security for the UK.

The National Cyber Security Programme will support the aims of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy over the next five years and reflects the importance the Government places on robust cyber security for the UK.

The National Cyber Security Centre, which began its first day of operations on Monday 3 October, will actively protect the UK from a range of cyber threats and will coordinate responses to cyber security incidents. It incorporates CESG, CERT-UK, the Centre for Cyber Assessment (CCA) and cyber-related aspects of the Centre for Protecting National Infrastructure (CPNI).

For more information about how to protect your business visit Cyberaware or follow the conversation on Twitter @cyberawaregov using #thinkrandom.

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