Picture this; it’s the end of the week, you’re ready to shut up shop and are daydreaming about some well-deserved rest and relaxation but this all gets rudely interrupted at 4.55pm when all your systems go down. This is a very real cyber nightmare that southwest businesses from Penzance to Bude, Dorchester to Swindon, Cirencester to everywhere else in between are sadly experiencing.
Would you know who to call if you found yourself in this situation? What actions would you take if it was a Sunday or over the bank holiday weekend? Would you know how to reach your key contacts if there was a total system lockout?
Public holidays, when business defences are down and there’s an extended period where the majority of the workforce is out of the office, presents a prime opportunity for an intruder to buy more time for sneaking in undetected.
In the days leading up to 4 July this year, a cybercrime gang infiltrated US IT firm Kaseya and posted a $70m ransom demand on the business’ blog on Independence Day. It had global repercussions affecting more than 1,000 in its supply chain.
But you don’t need to be turning over megabucks to attract the bad guys, in fact it’s the micro and smaller-sized enterprises that are uniquely at risk. Your business’ digital door may be shut but are you confident that it’s locked securely? It doesn’t take much for hackers to barge their way in and gain access to sensitive data and if vulnerabilities aren’t appropriately identified and fixed, you could end up being repeat business for online criminals.
A report by telecomms giant Vodafone found that more than 1.3 million small and medium-sized businesses across the UK could fold given the cost of an average cyberattack, which government data states is nearly £8,500 - a sobering thought indeed. We hope this never happens to you.
Ways to protect your business
Organisations and business owners are now gearing up for the long weekend, which means radars should be on a higher alert due to increased risk exposure. We can’t stress enough how important having a good continuity plan is for SMEs like yours. The National Cyber Security Centre has provided preparatory guidelines in five simple steps - think of this invaluable resource as your response and recovery bible - to weaken some impact should an attack occur.
Got your plan in place but want further support? The Cyber Resilience Centre for the South West (SWCRC) can assist you with additional options:
Cyber Essentials – this is a government scheme which helps you make your business more resilient against cyber-attacks. Cyber Essentials includes £25k insurance for SMEs and also immediate access to a helpline to support you in the early stages of a cyber-attack. So there’s someone there for you 24/7/365. To find out more about that process, we have a number of trusted partners who can work with you to achieve the qualification.
Business continuity exercise – as part of our student services, the SWCRC can help you hatch the right resilience plans to ensure that you’re covered even over the holiday periods.
Our sole aim is to lend a hand to SMEs in the South of England with business resilience, so please do get in touch if you want to know more about this or anything cyber related. Here’s to a restful and problem-free bank holiday weekend.