Cyber security, chances are, unless you’re a cyber security contractor, you’re unlikely to be taking all the necessary precautions. We’ve put together out top 7 tips to help keep your contracting business safe from the hackers, malware and ransomware.
The Internet is a scary place, these days! With the recent ransomware virus, WannaCry, hitting even the biggest – supposedly most secure – businesses in the world, how can you keep your small business safe? Here are our top 7 tips to help contractors avoid cyber security nightmares and keep their businesses safe.
1. Always update
If you receive a notification of any kind to update your software or operating system, do not delay. There’s a reason they’re asking you to update and it’s not only so you can get that cool new background on your desktop. Updates come with updated security measures – so whether that’s your phone, tablet, laptop or PC, hit that update button!
2. Use Antivirus software
Seems like an obvious one, but so many of us do not have an up to date antivirus suite on their work computers! No excuses, today antivirus software is a must if you’re going to protect your business. Computer viruses are so 2005, these days it’s all about Trojans and Ransomware – but you’re ‘Antivirus’ software will be equipped to deal with these too. While there are free softwares available on the market, you might want to consider a paid-for solution to protect your business, hey it’s tax deductible, so why not! Check out this review from PC Mag of the best Antivirus products on the market at the moment.
3. Back it up
Sure we’re all guilty of it, we’re busy and the computer desktop is such an easy place to leave your documents and files. But it’s not the most secure way to do it. Ideally you need 2 forms of backup; one cloud-based and one hardware-based. When it comes to choosing your cloud-based solution there are plenty of options on the market with prices ranging from free to a few pounds per month. The big names, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google all have secure solutions, as well as Dropbox, Amazon and many more, take a look at this review for more details. Update your work daily to your cloud-based solution, then should the worst happen it’ll be easy to pick up from where you left off.
And for your hardware-based solution, hard drive storage devices are cheap and plentiful in choice these days. They’re small with massive storage potential and easy to use – try updating your hard drive weekly to ensure that your work is backed up and stored in a safe place at your home or office in case of a catastrophic attack. TechRadar wrote a great review of the latest hard drives recently in their blog, take a look and buy a hard drive to backup your work.
4. Stay informed
A weekly or monthly update on the world of cyber crime really helps, most of the time it won’t be relevant to your business, but preparation is key. Devious hackers are constantly thinking up new ways to steal your data or hold your business for ransom. Keeping yourself updated could save your business. Here at Warr & Co we follow a great blog, We Live Security, sign up for their newsletter and keep an eye on their social pages too.
5. Protect your passwords
That’s right, ‘Password123’ is not the most secure password in the world. In fact, The Telegraph published a list of the most common passwords currently used, and the top ten will make you seriously doubt that humans are the most intelligence species on the planet. Vary your passwords, change the often and don’t write them down next to your laptop or store them within a file named ‘My Passwords’!
We’ve mentioned 1Password before in our blog, for those of you who don’t know, they have a brilliant solution to keep your passwords secure. You have a virtual vault of all your passwords which requires a super-secret master password to be able to access. It’s handy because it will auto-generate strong passwords and remember them for you, even filling in your password automatically as long as you’re logged in via your master password.
6. Use a VPN
Contractors and freelancers often find themselves needing to work outside the office, and normally there’s no problem with connecting to a free or paid-for public wifi service if you just want to update your Twitter account. However if you need to complete client work outside the office, be wary of these free wifi networks, this is often where hackers will try to intercept your passwords and your data as these public wifi networks are often less secure. You can overcome this problem by setting up a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which will provide you with an encrypted secure connection. Check out this review from Secure Thoughts on the best and worst VPNs available right now.
7. Get insurance
Should all else fail, you need to ensure that you’re covered no matter what happens. That’s where your professional indemnity insurance comes in. As a contactor you will have your client’s data, it’s your responsibility to protect this data so having the correct level of insurance is vital. Take a look at our contractor insurance page for further information about obtaining a contractor insurance policy from our friends at Caunce O’Hara.
Remember, just because you are your company’s only employee, that doesn’t mean you’re safe from cyber crime – in fact small businesses are being targeted more and more, probably because they’re easier to attack. Protect your business by following these 7 tips, the cost of a cyber attack will be far worse than the time and expense involved in trying to prevent a breach.