Cyber awareness – how safe is your data?

The recent Optus, Medibank and the Victorian Government data breaches revealed that even large companies can be vulnerable to being attacked. The consequences and ramifications are huge and Optus and Medibank have already lost many customers and which has severely affected their bottom line.

Cyber security incidents occur daily, on individuals, small businesses and large companies. It seems that everyone is susceptible to being attacked by “expert cyber criminals”.

Steps that you should take to reduce your risk:

1. Regularly update your devices and apps

Cyber criminals are specialist in hacking devices by using known weaknesses and glitches.

Therefore, it is essential to regularly update your devices and apps which are often corrected for their weaknesses and glitches. If you have hardware or software that is old, it may be unable to be updated which could leave your business vulnerable to being attacked.

2. Who within your company should have access to the data?

Usually, all your staff do not require full access to all of your data. If possible, the access to your data should be restricted as much as possible so that employees do not accidently or maliciously endanger your business.

We recently acted for a client who saw an employee’s text message which stated that she intended to delete all of the company’s marketing materials when she resigned from her employment. This would have caused significant damage to the company including loss of intellectual property and financial loss. Whilst this employee was summarily terminated, it demonstrates the importance of limiting access to information where ever possible.

3. Turn on multi-factor authentication.

Using a multi-factor authentication (MFA) will increase your protection against cyber criminals.  A MFA is a security measure which requires at least 2 pieces of identity to grant access, such as an email password and phone security code. If one piece of your identity is compromised, such as your password, a cyber criminal should be locked out of your account without the other. This makes it much harder for cyber criminals to steal your identity.

4. Back up your files.

You should frequently back up your data by copying your files to an online server like the cloud or an external storage device. Some industries are required to keep records for a certain period of time. Therefore, it is essential that you comply with your data retention requirements. This means that if you have been the victim of a cyber attack, you should be able to recover your important information.



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