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Ignoring cybersecurity could cost you

7th September 2017

Cyber security is a hot topic right now, and for good reason; no organisation wants to be at the mercy of hackers in the same way the NHS was as part of the WannaCry attack. Trusts all over the country were affected, with hackers causing routine operations to be cancelled and patient records to be lost. But now the government is proposing a strong financial penalty for companies in ‘essential’ sectors—including banking, power generation, and healthcare.
This financial penalty could be as much as £17m or 4% of the business’ global turnover and could be law by as early as May 2018. If it gains approval then it’s no great leap to imagine it rolling out for services not considered as essential, but which still have a substantial impact for customers.
The NHS attack may have come from a complicated programme, but it was spread in a very simple way; by opening an email attachment. Once open, the attachment locked down the system and released malware to hold it to ransom.
If your business is hit by such an attack, then, you could be facing not just weeks of stress and sleepless nights trying to recover your data but also a potential heavy fine from the government.
But because the attacks were spread by human error, it can be deceptively simple to stop them in their tracks; by making sure your team understand the risks involved in cybersecurity and understand how they can be the first line of defence. Involving your team in special discussions about security has time and again proven to be more effective than sending random emails around. One technique that’s proven to be effective time and time again is involving employees in a ‘false’ attack, where IT professionals orchestrate a similar kind of assault to see which employees will and won’t open suspicious attachments.
It’s important, too, to have all levels of your company, from the top to the bottom, understand the importance of good security protocol and the level of vulnerability your system displays. That way, the risk can be assessed more easily than trying to guess how good your firewall is.
Get in touch with us to find out more about our IT security solutions.
The proposed fines that the government wants to impose on businesses who are lazy with their cybersecurity may be the opening that companies needed in order to really analyse their current system and to see if they could be at risk too.

The Wi-Fi lowdown

24th August 2017

We have a movie star to thank for Wi-Fi.
Hedy Lamarr, star of stage and screen in Hollywood’s Golden Age, along with composer George Antheil, came up with a radio technology at the beginning of WWII that hopped frequencies and used spread spectrum techniques to help Allied powers avoid being the target of jamming from their enemies. From their war effort, we now enjoy wireless internet almost everywhere we go, including buses, coffee shops, and workplaces.
In layperson’s terms, Wi-Fi devices use radio waves to create a network. A wireless transmitter acts like a radio station, broadcasting to a device with Wi-Fi capability. When the two receive each other’s signals, a connection is established.
Public Wi-Fi means that a device sends out waves to all devices in range, so any device can connect to it. However, as with most things internet-based, public Wi-Fi comes with a security risk. Hackers can ‘eavesdrop’ on information sent and received over Wi-Fi. When you’re working somewhere like a coffee shop, this can be a danger to your business.
How can you prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands? Be smart about your IT and network security. First, try not to do business on an unsecured Wi-Fi network. If your email isn’t automatically protected by HTTPS rather than HTTP, ask yourself if it’s worth the risk sending a message that means a hacker might be able to grab your password, log into your account, and pretend to be you.
If you allow your employees to bring in their own devices to work, make sure you have a wireless work policy that everyone understands. That means making sure your Wi-Fi security is tough to crack, so you use a WPA rather than a WEP, making sure your firewall is up to task, and making your Wi-Fi policies clear.
Antivirus must be used by workers, but make sure it’s one that your IT team approve of. Ensure everyone knows what could happen if a hacker got hold of your data to increase the chances of co-workers and colleagues sticking to the secure data policy.
Crucially, workers have to be engaged and know what the rules of your Wi-Fi policy are for it to have any effect. Try training in person rather than sending ‘urgent update’ emails that could well end up unread and in the recycle bin for the average worker with a lot on their plate. Your data is worth securing, so make an effort to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Contact us to find out more about our IT security solutions.