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Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

With more people working remotely all across the country during the pandemic, we’ve been inadvertently thrust into the middle of an evolving experiment. This period of transition has caught many businesses off guard and made them susceptible to cyber criminals looking to take advantage of the confusion.

Woman typing on laptop

Here are five key cyber security myths that your staff should know about to ensure they, and your business, maintain good data security practices. 

1. Your business operating system is too small to target

Cyber criminals target businesses of all sizes. Big software companies are constantly monitoring their products for potential vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. So, ensuring that your employees’ operating systems are up to date is the easiest way to help ensure that your small business cybersecurity systems are protected against known issues.

This is true for all devices, including computers as well as any phones and tablets your team may use for work.

2. Cure networks aren't crucial for remote locations

With people working from a range of devices in different locations, network security has never been more important. Ensure your staff are only connecting their devices to trusted Wi-Fi networks even if you’re running a regional business.

If they’re in public, encourage them to avoid free networks and instead tether to their mobile device. Open networks are unsecured, and cyber criminals have been known to establish their own networks in public spaces to lure in unsuspecting users.

3. You don’t need cyber insurance

In case some of your staff forget to update their passwords regularly, cybersecurity insurance can give you peace of mind that if a threat surfaces, you are covered. Key passwords should be updated regularly to minimise their risk of being compromised. Use the current remote work reality as a prompt to encourage your staff to update their sensitive passwords.

It’s also helpful to remind your employees that the strongest form of password is actually a passphrase consisting of a series of words, special characters and a mix of cases. Passphrases should be unique to each device and key services or software to mitigate the potential risk if one were to be exposed.

4. Cyber criminals aren’t posing as a trusted person or organisation to target your important data

Scammers are taking advantage of the unique situation caused by COVID-19 to target businesses and individuals. There have been documented cases of people impersonating health authorities and postal services to manipulate specific targets. This style of social engineering attack can be hard to defend against, as they’re likely to go undetected by antivirus software.

It’s essential to educate your staff on the red flags for social engineering scams. These include unusual requests that are often coupled with a sense of urgency. Teach your employees to be sceptical of communications that feel out of the ordinary, even if they appear to come from someone they know. Information protection is crucial, so encourage them to delay taking any requested actions until they’ve established the identities of those they’re talking to.  

5. Data isn’t easily lost in the event of a cyber breach

If your staff are scattered around multiple locations, it’s critical that they’re all saving data to a central location. Establishing a server that staff can access remotely is a key step to ensuring data integrity.

This way, if one of your employees were to lose their local data, or it was stolen due to cyber crime, you’ll still be able to run your business effectively. A remote back-up also guards against accidents like theft or loss, keeping your business data safe from privacy breaches.

To check how ready your business is for cyber threats, you can take our Cyber Security Quiz for free.

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