I have lost my voice this week, (I think to my team's delight) But that doesn’t mean I have to stop helping businesses. Week after week, Greater Manchester Police and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit are seeing various cyber trends emerge.
What is often overlooked with cyber crimes is the mental impact it has on its victims.
The financial impact is what many of us concentrate on, but I often see the raw physical and mental impact this type of crime can have on a person. Having something happen to your online business is more than just losing access to your business for some time. It has effects on all aspects of your business and life. The stress it often creates can be avoided in the first place and this is a message I really try and get across here at the CRC.
A lot of the cyber crimes I have witnessed and investigated when I worked in the Cyber Crime Unit and it’s very hard to watch things unfold. Watching a small business, who have lost everything as a result of cybercrime is horrendous. Mainly because I've seen that time and time again our communities could be protected against certain cybercrimes if they knew about basic cybersecurity guidance and how to implement it within their personal and working lives.
In the last 12 months, the pandemic has seen many businesses regardless of size moving to be a more flexible workforce, away from the office. working from home and often exclusively online. This has brought out some extremely concerning threats to businesses and their employees.
The Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey showed that of the 39% of businesses who have identified cybersecurity breaches or attacks in the last 12 months, one in four (27%) were having to deal with attacks at least once a week. Dealing with cyber attacks for such a sustained period of time is only going to negatively impact your mental health and eventually see your business succumb to some losses if the right security controls aren't in place.
The survey identified that businesses don't have firm rules preventing staff from using their own devices for work (64%). With just 23% of businesses covering home working in a cybersecurity policy.
Giving your workforce freedom to work from home has so many benefits.
Are you making sure your security is still as strong whilst they are at home? Are you using appropriate VPN’s?
Secure passwords on accounts? Or for ease are you giving too much access to your administration accounts?
If your business has had to move to deliver everything online using an e-commerce store, have you secured that account? Have you secured the social media accounts? Has it got appropriate two-factor authentication (2FA) and recovery steps in place?
I am starting to see that employees who are working from home are being let down by some businesses who aren't protecting staff as well as they could be. We have all done an excellent job of responding to this new way of flexible working, But businesses need to stay on course and make sure they have the right tools and are implementing the right processes to stay secure in these difficult times.
What support does the Cyber Resilience Centre offer?
Our website is full of guidance for SME’s to help get you started. Our Free Core membership also gives you starter information to make sure you are as secure as possible. People can sometimes be put off by technical information, Backups, VPN’s, 2FA and encryption for example. These subjects are not going to go away and we want to help you tackle them and understand them!
I'm looking forward to our spring webinar series, these webinars will be packed with hints and tips for and will help to widen your cybersecurity knowledge. There is one later in the month that will be a good starter for anyone '.How to Implement Strong Cyber Security Foundations for your Business'.
If your business needs more assistance I am happy to talk to you about the services we deliver here at the GMCRC. I hope we can all work together to keep businesses safe through this pandemic and beyond.