I was glad to attend the launch of the South West Cyber Security Cluster (SWCSC) in Exeter in December. The name immediately makes it sound rather scary, which is unfortunate, but it describes its aim as “A not-for-profit collaboration raising cyber security awareness and best practice in the South West”. Although only on the periphery of the popular press, the IT press is seeing a sharp increase in stories about security issues that are affecting many small companies.

In November 2016 IT Pro reported that legal experts are expecting huge rise in data protection disputes over the next five years, mostly relating to security breaches.

In January 2017 the BBC reported on the Office for National Statistics’ Crime Survey for England and Wales assessment that there were “an estimated 3.6 million cases of fraud and two million computer misuse offences in a year”.

These two examples paint a limited picture of the sorts of issue, but do nothing to describe either the types of organisations who are the victims, nor the pain suffered and damage to their businesses. It is from awareness of this that the SWCSC was launched.

For many years past it has been fair to think that only the larger companies are worthwhile targets for cyber attacks, but this has changed and it is increasingly worthwhile for the criminals to target both smaller businesses and even individuals.

Whilst it will always be difficult to withstand a massive attack by an organised and professional attacker, most attacks can be resisted by the two simple measures of keeping software (in computers/tablets/smartphones, routers, etc., and anti-virus) fully up to date, and having all staff trained in basic security procedures. If a business – of any size – is not able to do this confidently for itself, it needs to seek assistance.

As important is to design security into any new IT system or equipment that a business may purchase, and maintaining the system with appropriate updates and further training.

Clyst Information Systems can help with all of this, using simple explanations of the issues to be addressed, the proposed solutions, and in delivering training, such that everyone involved will both appreciate their personal importance in behaving safely and in helping to protect their business.

Are you thinking about your IT security?
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