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The top five IT security mistakes made by businesses

IT security is a significant issue amongst many UK businesses. With cyber-attacks rising dramatically in recent years businesses must know how to adequately equip their IT systems and processes so that their risk of attacks is kept to a minimum and their business is not put at unnecessary risk.

Poor password management

Having weak passwords to access your business’ computer systems and software will pose a tremendous risk to cyber security. There are many different things that define a weak password:

  • One that is easily guessed, for example, it relates to the owner of the password (i.e. birthday, pet names)
  • Using the same password for multiple logins
  • Using the default password of a system
  • Using words found in the dictionary
  • Never changing a password

Delaying system and software updates

Software updates for your computer systems are an essential part of ensuring your security is fully secure, without these updates you leave your systems with vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber attackers. This was one of the main causes of the recent NHS ransomware attacks.

Not restricting access

You should have varying levels of access for each individual employee; for the majority of businesses, different departments will need access to different systems and/ or documents. Handling sensitive customer data is not something that is necessary for every team member of a business, therefore only those that need this essential information should have access.  It may not be a nice thing to have to consider, but taking every necessary precaution to ensure your data is kept secure from internal threats is a significant aspect to your business’ IT security.

Failing to check the authenticity of an email

In the past, it was relatively easy to identify a suspect email, the name was unknown to you, the topic of the email was irrelevant and there was often an odd link included. These days however, emails that have the potential to harm your security system are much harder to recognise.

Cyber attackers have become more cunning in their attempts to harm your IT systems, and now you will often recognise the name of the sender (and therefore not check the actual email address), and the content may be related to your industry. Checking emails thoroughly before replying or clicking on any link or attachment is essential, and if you do receive these types of emails, inform your IT team straight away.

Lack of staff training

A vital aspect to making sure your security is in the best possible hands is to ensure your staff are fully aware of cyber-threats and trained on how to spot and avoid said threats.

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The top five IT security mistakes made by businesses