Be safe, be resilient: Clark IT gets behind drive to keep Scots firms cybersecure

Be safe, be resilient: Clark IT gets behind drive to keep Scots firms cybersecure

As part of our Safer Business, Stronger Scotland campaign, we're urging businesses to sign up to the #PadlockPledge and make a commitment to becoming more resilient. 

During the campaign, we'll be hosting guest blogs from partners and members who have taken the pledge and how other businesses can take steps to help protect themselves from potential threats. 

Our guest blog this week is written by Austen Clark, managing director of Clark Integrated Technologies, who discusses the importance of being prepared for cyber security attacks. 

The padlock is a solid emblem of security, but just how can you adequately protect your business from the many risks and threats and vulnerabilities of the virtual world, and keep valuable data safe? 

As an early backer of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre’s #PadlockPledge campaign – and the first company in the North-east Scotland to sign up - Clark Integrated Technologies has made its commitment to be proactive in promoting safety and resilience against potential threats. 

We are going a step further by calling on all Scottish businesses to ramp up online security and defend against cyber crime. 

Digital connectivity is essential to most businesses, yet in Scotland, research indicates that six in 10 small to medium sized-businesses (SMEs) which are victims of cyber-attacks do not recover, and close within six months. 

Alarmingly the same research shows three quarters of SMEs in Scotland spent nothing on cyber fraud prevention. 

Most cyberattacks aren’t sophisticated – they’re opportunistic, with hackers looking for exploitable gaps and vulnerabilities. Attacks are steadily on the rise as hackers are getting smarter, more sophisticated and more successful. 

What’s concerning is that too many businesses believe that they are not at risk and that’s simply not the case. Whether you’re a sole trader or a multinational corporation, cyber security has to be viewed as an essential part of modern business life. There really is no place to hide. Fail to have adequate security guards in place and you could be the next victim, it’s that simple. 

Organisations need to invest in measures to ensure that they stay safe, as failure to do so could prove costly, both financially but also in terms of cost to reputation. The value of the human element in IT security can never be underestimated and anyone that uses a PC, laptop, tablet or phone in connection with their work has a responsibility for their company’s security. 

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre’s Padlock Pledge is a welcome step to drive home the message and heighten awareness of the potential risks to firms of all sizes. In order to maintain a healthy, security-conscious culture in the workplace, awareness and training of the type of threats and security issues affecting business today is important. Prevention is always better than cure and staff vigilance, found among a well-trained and supported workforce, goes a long way to warding off disaster. 

Here’s my four-point guide to focus the mind on the need-to-know points of cybersecurity for businesses. 

Know the weakest chinks in your security barrier 

Most security breaches come from email. The most common types are phishing, impersonating an organisation in email or online, or a virus, spyware, or malware including ransomware. 

Regard your workforce as online security officers 

The most vulnerable part of a company’s cybersecurity is its employees. Hackers rely on them to click links or open files that release malware into the system. Hackers also assume false identities in conversation with company employees to collect sensitive data in the process.  

Protection must begin with everyone at the company, in every department. If all staff are educated on how to identify phishing emails and verify supposed company partners, they could be the most effective defence against cyber breaches. 

Awareness, combined with spot tests, keeps employees on their toes and aware of what to look out for. 

Strengthen your defences 

Internal firewalls and ongoing security awareness are important. So too are security standards available to SMEs as well as larger businesses. The Scottish Government introduced Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus to assist SMEs reduce their vulnerability to cyberattacks. Trusted partners, like Clark IT, support businesses to gain this validation, helping them implement basic levels of protection against cyberattack, and demonstrating to their customers that they take cyber security seriously. 

Protect and prosper 

Reviewing systems raises awareness of the value of data – and the risks it is exposed to. Achieving an accredited security standard brings its own benefits. It shows a business has a data security focus, creating confidence among business partners and making it good for its value and reputation. In some cases, this will be an essential requirement for contractual compliance. 

Find out how your business can get involved with the #PadlockPledge by visiting www.SaferBusinessStrongerScotland.com 

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