Protecting Your Business from Cyber Crime

Cyber crime costs the UK economy around £27 billion a year. The average cost of it to a small business is £4,000 a year. These worrying statistics were highlighted in a recent report published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in collaboration with the Home Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

What Constitutes Cyber Crime?
The list of cyber crime activities that contribute to the victims' losses includes customer fraud; credit and debit card fraud; software fraud; computer virus infections; computer hacking; and system security breaches that cause a lack of availability of your website to your customers. If you have ever been a victim of one of these problems you will know how frustrating and even devastating it can be.

Your outsourced bookkeepers are aware that the problems have produced a culture of fear in some small organisations, so that they still shun the internet and its potential for the business. Among FSB members who do practice online trading, most undertake regular security patch installations and relevant risk assessments, and many give their staff appropriate training. The majority, however, don't have formal counter-fraud policies and plans. And they don't have documented information security standards or plans.

Tips from the FSB
The FSB has therefore issued a series of tips to help entrepreneurs to protect their small businesses from cyber crime. They start with the obvious: employing firewalls; running anti-virus and anti-spam programmes; performing regular security updates; having a rigorous password policy; securing your wireless network.

Then they cover the documenting and policing of procedures for email, internet and mobile use. Staff training also gets a mention, so you could include it in inductions, plus hold annual reinforcement and updating sessions. You might even go as far as performing background checks in your recruitment process.

Do you have plans for backup, data disposal and disaster recovery? Have you tested them? Do you perform regular risk assessments? Do you test your website security? Al these areas are covered in the FSB tips. Finally they recommend that if you use cloud services to acquire supplies, you first check the provider's credentials and any relevant contracts.

The list is quite daunting for a small business owner, but the risks you take in not performing these tasks are high. Ask your outsourced bookmakers if they can provide services that will help you. They might also be able to advise if you could be eligible for the government's Innovation Vouchers Scheme, which was recently extended to include vouchers for cyber security products and services.

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