Protect Your IT – Cyber Essentials

Cyber security is very much in the news, with hacking of law firms, denial of service attacks and so on.

No security system is perfect, but there are some simple steps to start with.

  1. Use a reputable anti-virus/anti-malware software on all your devices, and keep it updated
  2. Similarly use a software firewall – they will often be packaged together with anti-virus software
  3. Keep your operating system and other software up to date, such as by allowing Microsoft automatic updates. It a software provider stops supporting a version of their software, buy the latest version (less of a problem as Microsoft is moving to a constant upgrade model)
  4. Backup! Ensure that your data is backed up at a minimum once a week, and preferably daily (it depends on how often your data changes). Ideally the backup data should be off site. Regularly check that your data can be restored to your system – if you cannot restore your data, the backup is useless.
  5. Use strong passwords, preferably a combination of letters (including capitals), numbers and symbols. Apart from “password” and “1234” the worst passwords are ones easily associated with the user. So the Liverpool FC mug on the desk may suggest that “Anfield” is the password. That said, the password needs to be memorable, so one technique is to substitute numbers and symbols for some of the letters in a memorable word.
  6. In most cases, not all your staff need full access to all your system. Restrict access to start with, then add access as necessary on a person by person basis.
  7. Keep your website secure, including access and passwords.
  8. Train your staff on security, and on such things as email vulnerability. Many are used to clicking on “you’ll never believe this!” links, which can be malicious.
  9. Think about encrypting important documents, or at least password protecting them.
  10. Cyber liability insurance is available to cover the costs of putting right problems arising from cyber attack. It is not necessarily expensive, and protects against loss.

For more information, visit the Government’s Cyber Essentials site here.

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