Media headlines that scream ‘Cyber attack cripples NHS’ could have you thinking that cyber-attacks happen rarely, or only to large, high profile organisations. But you would be wrong.

Cyber-attacks are not unusual, they happen every day. They happen to organisations just like yours, and the threats change at an alarming rate. You may have heard of ransomware and malware, but how much do you understand about the latest trends in extortion and crypto-mining, and how to defend yourself against them?

As leading IT security experts, a lot of our work sees us help clients in highly sensitive situations deal with cyber attacks that could seriously damage their businesses, or even result in their collapse. The sad fact is that many of these situations could have been prevented, if the right precautions had been put in place.

Take SMEs, for example. They make up 99% of private sector businesses, and over 80% of them think they are too small for cyber criminals to target, yet according to the Federation of Small Businesses, they are actually targeted seven million times a year. Cyber criminals see them as easy targets, mainly because they do so little to protect themselves and are seen as a perfect vehicle for reaching larger organisations, through their supply chain.

Even the smallest of businesses can sign up to the Government-backed Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus Cyber Essentials scheme, designed to help you guard against the most common cyber threats. Having this certification reassures customers and prospects that you take IT security seriously, and is mandatory for certain government contracts.

If you are one of the increasing number of organisations considering taking out cyber insurance, having Cyber Essentials in place demonstrates your commitment to cyber security, helps you achieve GDPR compliance, and in some cases reduces your premiums too.

There is a lot you can do to prevent and deal with attacks, and to really protect your organisation and your ICT environment, you should start with a top to bottom review.

Your IT partner should have the skills and experience to carry out penetration testing and vulnerability scanning to test the strength and security of your network and systems, and report on potential exposures. These could range from holes in your network set up, through to poor user security practices such as weak or shared passwords that would allow a hacker easy access.

One of the key factors in protecting your business is deciding how much downtime you could live with.  Do you want your systems and data back up and running in minutes, hours or days? Check out our handy online calculator, which will show you what every minute of downtime could cost you. We guarantee you will be surprised at the results.

Deciding how much downtime you can live with will help you to create a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy. This is the document that will keep your business running whatever the circumstances and you are likely to need an IT security partner alongside you, to help you make the right choices.

While we are strategic partners to many of the world’s best of breed IT vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, Virgin and Zerto, we do not believe in dictating what you need. We would rather work alongside you to identify the issues, and then look at the technology options that will solve the problem.

If you would rather not be a sitting duck for criminals, come along to our next security briefing panel event in November and hear UK security experts talk about the latest threats, outline some real live cases that you can learn from, and show you how to manage the risk to your organisation.

Whatever you do, please don’t do nothing.

Contact Janice for full details of next month’s security event.