By Barry Maxey, Client Technology Director, Armstrong Watson

THE recent high profile cyber-attacks on organisations including Travelex & Canyon have raised awareness of how big cyber-crime is right now and it’s essential that you regularly assess and monitor your business risk against a cyber-attack.

Yet despite significant cyber security exposures, around 85% of small business owners believe their business is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a data breach (Source: Symantec).

Furthermore only 25% of small business owners have had an outside party test their IT/computer systems to ensure they are secure from attacks and nearly 40% do not have their data backed up in more than one location.

As these attacks become more frequent, it is now more important than ever to protect yourself and your business. Unfortunately, there is no "quick fix" when looking to protect your business from a potential cyber-attack but there are some things you can do to help you prepare:

1. Review your patching policy, ensure all updates are being applied as soon as they become available; do you ensure patches are applied as quickly as is practicable?

2. Train your employees to be aware of and identify potential phishing emails; do employees know what to look out for or who to report concerns too? Have you considered setting up awareness campaigns (posters, newsletters etc.)?

3. Test and review your back-up and recovery systems and processes; how quickly can you bring your organisation back online?

4. Review and test your incident response plan; does it work effectively, do the key stakeholders know what to do in the event of an incident?

If you’re concerned about the potential impact of a cyber attack on your business and would like to know what you can do to prepare, an onsite Cyber Security Health is a useful process to analyse current security systems and controls. Carried out by an experienced and qualified security consultant, a health check will deliver a high level assessment of your organisation, including:

• a review of your current security processes and documented controls

• a review of current back-up and recovery procedures

• a report, including findings and recommendations for improvement

To learn more about how a cyber security health check can offer protection and guidance for your business, please give me a call on 0808 144 5575 or email