Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

The Smarter Team is made up of business and technology journalists who write to offer insights to small and medium businesses about technology, business know-how and emerging trends.

Safeguarding your business requires an approach that is tailored to your needs. This takes an investment of time and money, and assistance from people with the right knowledge and expertise. But did you know that there are smaller steps you can take to form a rock-solid security foundation for your business to build on?

We take a look at the quick 5-minute fixes that you can do right now to start securing your business online, before taking more significant steps down the track. 

Patch now and patch often

When was the last time you immediately clicked ‘yes’ to the prompt to install updates on your computer, smartphone or tablet? It’s easy to think, with the best of intentions, ‘I’m busy. I’ll update later.’ But in the moment you delay, you’ve opened a window for a cyber attack. And the longer you leave it, the more your software and operating system will become vulnerable. Those windows, metaphorically speaking, become bigger with every day.

These updates, which often seem pesky, include more than enhancements to software. They often come packaged up with necessary security updates – called ‘patches’ – released in response to new vulnerabilities being discovered.

 “Installing security updates is the number one control that needs to be in place for organisations, as it will neutralise many of the threats that you face,” says Matthew Wilson from Telstra’s 2018 Business of the Year winner, cyber security specialists Penten.

Need help protecting your business online?

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Check your antivirus 

Do you have antivirus installed on your system? Is it up to date? It only takes a few minutes to make this check.

Every day, we face the challenge of keeping up with changes – and tech is changing all the time. Increased adoption of the cloud and mobile connectivity across devices has raised new challenges for SMBs, increasing the chances of a breach. More devices can mean more potential breach points. If you have antivirus on your devices – run a scan now. And, if you have the option, change your settings to allow your antivirus to update and scan automatically.

5-minute fix: Check across your devices that you have antivirus installed with scans scheduled. Check that scans have run recently. Down the track look into protection like McAfee Endpoint Protection Essential for SMB.

Password management 

“The urge to pick simple passwords is understandable given the large number of passwords that are required in our modern lives — for banking, social media and online services, to simply unlocking our phones. But choosing weak passwords can be a major mistake, opening you up to theft and identity fraud,” reports McAfee Chief Consumer Security Evangelist Gary Davis. The company’s survey found the most popular password was still a combination of “123456” and “password”.

The sheer number of passwords a business uses can be overwhelming. The 2018 World Password Survey found that each respondent had an average of 23 online accounts that required a password. Some studies put this number of individual online accounts much, much higher. Having a unique password for each account can contain a breach and stop it spreading, but out of those 23 online accounts, “on average only 13 use unique passwords”.

Those figures are just by individual. Depending on the number of employees and the tech demands of a business, the number of passwords in use can be a challenge.

5-minute fix: Start using a reputable password manager like LastPass.com to get extra control of your passwords. 

Make it routine

To ensure you don’t make today’s 5-minute fixes a one-time-only event, take 5 minutes now to set recurring reminders in your calendar for on-going periodic check-ups. Allocate time to check-in regularly to make sure that these basic cyber-security checks are set up, scheduled, and working. Make it routine to check.

5-minute fix: Set yourself calendar alerts to make these fixes routine.

Make it cultural

There is no such thing as a perfect quick fix, but taking a few minutes to focus on security is a good start towards a more robust approach.

The best protection to safeguard your business and livelihood is an integrated solution that combines the right technology, education and specialist advice, and an added element of cultural learning.

“Cybersecurity awareness training can make a big difference when it comes to stopping threats slipping past your defences,” Matthew Wilson says.

Even in our tech-driven world, human behaviour, culture, and education still play a vital part.

 

How cyber-secure is your business?

Our free online quiz can help you find out.

Take quizHow cyber-secure is your business?

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