Free cyber security workshops coming soon

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As the digital world grows, so too does its impact on business.

As a result the need for online security becomes an even greater priority for every organisation, large or small. It is a common misconception that some businesses are too small to be attacked.

A 2017 UK government survey found that more than a third of firms with between two and nine employees had experienced a cyber security breach or attack. In 2015 a Scottish hairdressing business was hacked, resulting in a loss of all their appointment data.

Improving your cyber security doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in IT or digital technologies. There are many simple actions that will reduce the risk to your business.  Business Gateway Argyll and Bute is now offering a free workshop to help small businesses improve their cyber resilience.

The new Cyber Security DigitalBoost workshop will take place during March in Dunoon, Helensburgh, Lochgilphead and Oban.  To find out more or to secure your place call 01546 808363 or email business.gateway@argyll-bute.gov.uk

Business Gateway can also offer advice to those not able to come along to a workshop. It might sound obvious, but making sure that all of your software is up to date is vital because updates include the latest security patches from the developer.

Changing your passwords regularly is also important.  Instead of using a simple word or number sequence you should create a passphrase by joining three or four unrelated words to form a long single word.  You should also include some numbers too to make it harder to guess. Another option is to use password manager software which creates passwords for you and adds another layer of security.

Being aware of the signs of phishing emails is crucial. If the sender’s email address looks odd, the content is full of spelling mistakes, or it is very impersonal, then chances are it could be from a suspicious source. Another trick scammers use to try and make their emails look credible is by using the logos of well-known brands. If an email asks you to click on a link to provide your bank details or other personal information then your alarm bells should be ringing.

Securing your customers’ data is essential. You should take the time to review individual areas of your business that are customer facing. Are your point of sale stations secure? Are you encrypting customer data? If you take online payments, is payment card data secure?

New regulations on data protection will come into force on May 25, and you should be aware of how they will impact your business.  The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) raises the standards of how data is obtained and how it is stored so if you haven’t already looked into this, you should start now.

Business Gateway has a range of free downloadable guides on its website, including guides on cyber security and GDPR.    www.bgateway.com/business-guides/grow-and-improve/digitalboost-guides

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