Businesses should be much more aware of online security after last month’s WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack attacked 200,000 computers in 150 countries, causing chaos for the UK’s NHS.
So many businesses these days rely on their IT systems for record keeping and for communications that it makes sense to do everything possible to keep them both secure and running. Ransomware attacks can take over a machine and lock the owner out until they pay a fee to the hacker.
It is estimated that such incidents have increased by 50% in the last 12 months.
The first thing to do is to ensure that the operating system is up to date, and that any security patches issued by the provider are installed promptly.
Also make sure to protect the system with a reputable anti-virus protection programme.
Remember that as Microsoft rolls out new operating systems, sooner or later it will withdraw support for older ones. This was part of the problem with the NHS meltdown, where some of its system was still using Windows XP, long after Microsoft withdrew support.
The second thing to do is to ensure that all data crucial to the business’ operation is backed up elsewhere, either in the cloud or on an external hard drive, preferably both.
Thirdly, all staff should be trained to be on the alert for suspicious e-mails and above all to never click on any links they contain. Often such emails will appear to come from a reputable organisation, such as HMRC.
If in doubt about a link, hover the mouse over the link and the complete URL will pop up. That is often a good indication that it is suspicious. Further checks could be done by either calling the sender or checking its website via a search engine not via any links in an email.
Remote monitoring by your IT support company is another option. We offer remote monitoring and back-up options via AVG. Better to be safe than sorry when your livelihood is at stake.