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How Can You Protect Your Business From a Cyber-attack? Part. Two

Ongoing research shows that New Zealand businesses are not immune to cyber security breaches, and the current limits on skilled professionals make this all the more daunting. Due to recent statistics we have decided to cover the issue in a series of informative blog posts- which aim to equip you with knowledge that can help safeguard your company’s cyber defences.

What Impact Has Cyber-Attacking Really Had on NZ Businesses?

Internationally there have recently been many prolific cyber threats and attacks as internet dependency has become a vital aspect of business practice.

Last year New Zealand businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, were asked to review the security of their internet and network operations. Technological progress has made it cheaper and easier for hackers to create viruses and malware, which is a direct link to the continuous rise of network security breaches.

The request to shore up on cyber defences has also followed New Zealand’s own high-volume attack on the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s (NIWA) supercomputer. The supercomputer, which enhances business management with new forecasting accuracy, was forced offline after numerous unauthorized attempts by hackers to gain access to the computer system.

Additionally, recent research shows that 56 percent of companies involved in research surveys had experienced IT security attacks at least once a year, and did not have the adequate tools and policies to lessen attacks. However, over half of these businesses had no further investments in cyber security.

Why Are We Being Attacked?

The harsh reality is that most Kiwi businesses are underprepared in the way of cyber defences, which is associated with the limited importance we often place on protecting our online data and activity.

The lack of skilled cyber security professionals in New Zealand is another major factor to our current negligent defences. A recent report by ISACA showed that 85 percent of participants in Australia and New Zealand believe that there is a shortage in cyber security workforce.

So, now more than ever we should be proactive when it comes to IT security. Equipping ourselves with the appropriate awareness of tools that are available, and understanding ‘cyber safe’ practices we can implement ourselves will change the current relaxed IT security culture. Don’t let your business suffer before you take action on you internet security.

Here are a few ‘cyber safe’ practices YOU can implement today:

Vigorous Email Filters: Most, if not all, email services give you the option to create filters and a specific criteria- so that you can enter in the safe addresses that you want to receive emails from. It’s easy, just login into your email account and explore!

Complex Passwords: Lock up all your valuable data with strong passwords which include a combination of uppercase, lowercase and number characters. Use a different password for different programs, that way if a hacker got a hold of one password then other programs would be safeguarded.

Install antivirus protection: Installing an antivirus can help prevent viruses and malware from entering your network, particularly for those that often download files and data. Most antiviruses offer a 30 day trial. Here’s a ControlNow free trial for layers of protection.

Keep your employees educated: inform employees about any potential threats via brief emails or at staff meetings in order to ensure everyone is aware of the importance of cyber security.

Part One of the cyber security series here.

Implementing these DIY steps will add to your organisation’s resilience against cyber-attacks, but nothing can beat advice from an IT security professional.

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