Technology has transformed the way that many companies operate.
From enhancing efficiency and improving productivity to streamlining and automating traditional, manual processes, it has positively impacted many organisations.
However, it also poses many external, internal, deliberate and unintentional risks. So, if your business relies on technology, you need to be aware of the range and nature of these threats.
Here, we look at some of the most common IT risks that businesses face and how to manage them effectively.
Remote working is one of the most significant business issues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic of the past two years.
Organisations large and small had to quickly get to grips with new ways of communicating, collaborating and staying connected in the face of enforced lockdowns and Government instructions to work from home.
As things start to return to normal, it’s clear that remote working is here to stay. While it has many benefits for businesses, it also poses some significant IT risks.
Top of the list is network protection. How do you provide secure network access to your remote workers while keeping unwanted or unauthorised visitors at bay?
Connectivity can also pose challenges – does your connectivity support your operational delivery and keep your staff productive?
Check out our blog, Remote Working and Business Security, for more information on the steps you can take to keep your business, networks, users and data safe and secure.
Viruses and malware
It’s a common misconception that big corporates and larger public sector organisations are the main targets for cyber criminals, who aren’t interested in smaller businesses.
In reality, SMEs are more likely to get hacked because they wrongly assume they won’t get hit, and often don’t have the money or resources to invest in expensive cyber security measures.
Malicious software poses a significant threat to smaller businesses and organisations that don’t have adequate cyber security. Some of the most common types of malware include:
- Ransomware – extorts money by preventing users from accessing your systems, networks and data
- Spyware – secretly watches your users’ activities and gathers information (such as passwords, personal and financial details)
- Viruses – corrupt your system, making it unusable
- Worm – self-replicates quickly to spread through other systems and devices on your network
- DDoS – overloads your computer system with attack traffic to prevent it from providing the service it’s supposed to
- Phishing – unsolicited – but genuine-looking – emails designed to trick your users into giving hackers personal or sensitive information
- SQL Injection – hackers ‘inject’ malicious code into a data entry form on a website to gain access to the backend database and extract information.
When it comes to building your cyber defences, the National Cyber Security Centre’s Cyber Essentials guidelines are an excellent place to start.
So, too, is working with a technology partner like Quintech, who can assess your systems and network, identify and address any weaknesses and create a robust cyber security solution.
Data and backups
Data backup is essential for businesses of all sizes.
If your business uses or stores electronic information of any kind, then data backup should be a top priority. It involves making copies of your data from the original files, so your data can be restored if the originals get lost, stolen, damaged, or corrupted. Regularly backing up your data will help protect your business against a wide range of risks, including:
- Accidental deletion
- Compromised user or administrator accounts
- Data breach or cyber attack
- Malware attacks
- Misconfigured retention policies
- Replication of corrupted files
- Syncing issues causing files to become corrupted
Check out our blog, Why You Should Back Up Your Microsoft 365, for more information about the importance of backing up your data.
Lack of planning
Technology evolves rapidly, and what works for your business now may be obsolete in two years’ time.
Older software and operating systems may become outdated as new tools and applications come onto the market. And ageing hardware can quickly become obsolete and unable to support newer software packages and innovations.
So, keeping one eye on the future, and understanding where technology is heading and what’s on the horizon, is crucial.
Working with a technology partner like Quintech is vital. We can help your business understand its technology needs, both now and in the future, and build the technology foundation you need to achieve your goals.
Staff and users
While your business’ IT is built on technology, you shouldn’t underestimate the risks your staff and users pose. From inadvertently downloading malware or viruses to accidental file deletion and mistakenly or maliciously leaking data, your staff can often be the weak link in your IT.
So, it’s essential to ensure that you have robust and well-developed processes, procedures and staff training in place alongside your technology to help protect your networks, data and digital assets.
Educating your team to make them aware of the issues and their responsibilities can help minimise careless mistakes.
Limiting how much data your staff can access and providing access to only the data they need to do their jobs will also help. So, too, will monitoring the use of portable storage devices, USB memory sticks, mobile devices and media players.
The key here is to do all you can to raise awareness of the issues and establish a culture of good IT working practices within your business.
How can Quintech help?
As technology evolves, businesses need to ensure they stay vigilant and aware of the risks IT can pose. However, many businesses don’t have the in-house resource or expertise required to achieve the best results.
That’s why working with a technology partner such as Quintech is essential.
Our role is to ensure your IT best serves your business, see how it can be improved and where any potential cost savings could be made.
To find out more about how we can help your business manage its IT risks and achieve improvement through technology, please get in touch.