Quick Survival Guide for Irish SME’s

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Today millions of people will turn on their PC’s at work and the question is – will they unwittingly then contribute to the spread of this ransomware menace?

The media is full of the blame game and Microsoft partly blames a US Security Agency that developed software that enables the attacks; this was then hacked and leaked – thus opening the door for criminals (let’s use the right terminology in this respect) to maliciously abuse businesses – by locking computers and demanding payment to unlock them (ranging around €280 – €500). That amount may not seem so bad but bear in mind it’s per machine/terminal and it can add up pretty fast! Bribery is an old-fashioned crime but the use of technology and the ability to bribe businesses on an automated, wholesale and global basis means that we should all sit up and take notice – and action.

And the blame game is feck- all use to me or you.

SME’s Fight Back – Immediate Steps to Take

Here’s some quick actions you can take to help protect your business. You may feel that if organisations like the NHS – with all the IT expertise and resources they have at their disposal – can’t protect themselves against ransomware and other cyber security threats – then small Irish businesses have no hope of dealing with it effectively.

But you’d be wrong!

We’re nimble, we operate by necessity in a lean, efficient manner and we can respond fast. It doesn’t cost a fortune to take precautionary measures and we’re up for the fight. When the recession hit we all put our shoulder to the wheel and in terms of the internet; that’s what we need to do right now. We owe it to ourselves, our own business and the Irish business community as a whole.

Quick Survival Guide to Improve Security

  1. Increase awareness of this threat. Notify all staff

– not to open email attachments or links in phishing emails unless they are absolutely sure they are from a trusted source.

– also don’t download anything unless they are totally confident its legitimate

– similarly avoid visiting dubious websites

  1. Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and run it on all PC’s and connected devices.
  2. Make sure you are using the latest version of all software; new versions of software are often developed specifically to address security issues or weaknesses. If you have a wordpress website, for example, update it to the latest version; and update all plug-ins (sometimes it’s not a good idea to do this yourself as updated plug-ins can conflict with other plug-ins etc; get a professional developer/agency to do it; it’s low –cost but high value)
    Here’s a blog we did on a wordpress attack a while back.
  3. Bear in mind security is a ranking factor for Google now too – they want to see HTTPS being used everywhere – see our blog As Safe as Houses! Better Security = Better Rankings
  4. Back-up your data. Having your data in the cloud will help but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is backed up. Talk to your IT support – whether that’s internal or external – about the best approach on back-ups for your business.

This may seem like a distraction and actually – it is – but it’s definitely worth taking time off the “day-job” to put the right processes in place to give your business the best chance of avoiding disruption – and cost – into the future.

Just do it!

Cathy

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