Mackay’s small to medium business need to be aware that they are the target of cyber-attacks. Almost half (45 per cent) have experienced some form of cyber-attack in the past 12 months.

These threats come in the form of viruses, worms or Trojans, with more than half of those businesses affected admitting their company infrastructure had been attacked in this way.

Here are 10 things that you can do to reduce the risk of an attack to your business.

  1. Make your employees aware of the importance of security. The strength of your company’s security is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s critical that employees are trained on strong password use and avoid dangerous links and suspect email attachments. Weak passwords were the gateway for 76 percent of network intrusions.
  2. Know the data you’re trying so hard to protect. Before you set up protection you first have to know what you’re protecting and where you’re protecting it. Knowing where your confidential information is stored will make it easier for the company to limit access.
  3. Identify and secure the devices your employees use on your network. BYOD is a growing trend in the corporate world, but it could prove to be the weakest point if steps aren’t taken to secure these devices, especially if they contain company data. 56 percent of Australian SMBs admitted to having no protection on their employee’s smart devices.
  4. Protect your networks from all entry points. Thanks to our 24/7 connectivity, work is a thing you do rather than a place you go so users can link to a company network anywhere and anytime. Protect access to your company network with VPNs (virtual private networks) and firewalls.
  5. Keep your physical devices under lock and key. Servers the backbone of a company’s security system and should therefore be secured behind locked doors, along with unused devices that will be used on your network.
  6. Keep your facilities safe and secure. Control who can enter your offices and limit access to secure areas. Grant access to authorized employees using a managed entry system.
  7. Use diligence to avoid human error. Human error is a key contributor to data loss, with 62 per cent of Australian SMBs indicating that this had occurred in the last year. Make sure your employees understand the risks involved and that they carry out tasks with care.
  8. Create clear company cyber security policies. Make it clear to your employees that there are rules when it comes to usage of your network and sharing information. Employees’ use of social media and email can account for an increase in malware attacks.
  9. Properly dispose of sensitive material. From the low-tech solution of document shredding to the more advanced data shredding, it’s important to responsibly dispose of files and end-of-life devices.
  10. Screen your employees before you hire them. Reliable and trustworthy employees are just as important for the security of a company as the strongest firewall. Conduct background and reference checks before hiring new staff members. If you’re thinking cyber criminals only target big companies, you’d better think again. More than 75 per cent of data breaches targeted small and medium businesses so it pays to stay one step ahead of the hackers and ward off a potentially crippling cyber-attack.