29th May 2024

7 Crucial Business Security Mistakes to Avoid

Running a business isn't easy. Whether you're in the office five days a week or fully remote, security is often the last thing on your mind. But it should be. Expert Security UK explores why...

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7 Crucial Business Security Mistakes to Avoid

Running a business isn’t easy. Whether you’re in the office five days a week or fully remote, security is often the last thing on your mind. But it should be. Expert Security UK explores why…

The business landscape has changed drastically over the past few years. And with increased use of personal devices, more widespread Wi-Fi accessibility, and people working all around the world, security issues have transformed, too. 

Businesses in all industries, and of all shapes and sizes, need to protect themselves from outside threats, both the physical and the digital. But not every company is giving it these areas the attention they deserve. Business security provides, Expert Security UK, explore the seven key mistakes businesses are making, and how to fix them.

Assuming you’re not a target

The mistake: Believing your business is too small for hackers to target.

Why it matters: Even the smallest of businesses hold valuable data such as customer information or financial records. Hackers may even see businesses of this size as easier targets with potentially weaker defences, without the time and people power to invest in this area.

How to fix it: Be proactive about security wherever you can. Implement strong measures regardless of business size; even smaller difference like encouraging staff to be vigilant, and locking all doors. 

Weak passwords and access control

The mistake: Employees will have to access multiple accounts and areas of the internet every day, and for ease of access, they may resort to using weak (and easy to remember) passwords or the same password across them all. For businesses on the smaller size, there may also  Lack of access control for sensitive data.

Why it matters: Weak passwords are easily compromised, granting access to critical systems. Uncontrolled access increases the risk of data breaches.

How to fix it: Enforce strong password policies with regular changes. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for added security. Establish clear access control protocols for sensitive data.

Skipping security training

The mistake: Many people, and businesses, assume that others simply know all about cybersecurity best practices, and therefore don’t offer any guidance or training one how to best protect themselves online.

Why it matters: Employees are often the first line of defence against cyberattacks. Phishing emails, hacking attempts and social engineering tactics can trick them into unknowingly compromising systems. Through no fault of their own, an employee may give away valuable information or grant access to your backend system. 

How to fix it: It’s important to have a calendar in place of new training for when new employees join your team, and refreshers for those who may have forgotten a few details. This training should cover how to identify phishing attempts, password security and digital hygiene, and secure data handling practices.

Neglecting updates, backups and patches

The mistake: We’ve all done it; click ‘remind me later’ when asked to install an update. But leaving this even for a day or two – whether it’s an update or a hardware patch – along with a lack of a proper data backup strategy can have dire consequences.

Why it matters: Unpatched software vulnerabilities and outdated firmware are prime targets for hackers. And without proper backups in place, if a a cyberattack or hardware failure does occur, this can lead to permanent data loss.

How to fix it: If you don’t outsource your website or IT management, ensure you enable automatic updates for software and operating systems, including anything to do with the back end of your website. You’ll also want to implement a regular data backup schedule with secure off-site storage so that if the worse does happen, you still have access to everything. 

Ignoring physical security

The mistake: Cybersecurity may be a growing concern, but that doesn’t mean you should concentrate all your efforts on your business’s digital safety. Overlooking physical security measures – such as weak locks, unsecured access points, or lack of surveillance in sensitive areas – can be just as catastrophic as a data breach. 

Why it matters: Physical security breaches can allow unauthorised access to equipment and sensitive documents; you may as well give them a key to your front door and online passwords!

How to fit ix: Try to look at your business through the eyes of an outsider; how could someone without access get in? Once you have identified these potential weak spots, implement strong access control for physical locations, utilise security cameras and alarm systems in high-risk areas.

Unrestricted use of personal devices

The mistake: Our new approach to remote working has transformed businesses, but it’s also opened up some potentially dangerous vulnerabilities. Many employers allow their staff unrestricted use of personal devices – such as laptops and phones for work purposes without having the proper security protocols in place. 

Why it matters: Personal devices may have weaker security measures and be more vulnerable to malware or physical theft. If employees access sensitive business data on devices that they then take off the premises and use elsewhere, this can compromise whatever is stored on them.

How to fix it: Implement a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy with security requirements for accessing business data on personal devices. Consider providing secure work devices or remote access solutions.

Sharing sensitive information unsafely

The mistake: Wi-Fi is easily accessible nowadays wherever we go. And with so many of us choosing work remotely – such as from coffee shops and cafes – it opens businesses up to another vulnerability. Sending sensitive data (financial records, customer information) through unsecured channels like plain text emails or public Wi-Fi, can open up a back door to hackers.

Why it matters: Not all Wi-Fi is created equal. And that coffee shop network you access without a password is an unsecured communication channels which is vulnerable to interception, and can lead to data breaches.

How to fix it: If you’re accessing a public Wi-Fi network, or are sending particularly sensitive documents, consider encrypting data before sending, or use secure file transfer protocols or virtual private networks (VPNs) when working.

Categories: Articles, Cyber Security

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