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Internet safety for businesses: It's all a matter of perspective

PUBLISHED: 10:28 16 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:28 16 January 2018

Simon Yeoman, Fasthosts

Simon Yeoman, Fasthosts

Fasthosts

From lone wolves to sophisticated gangs bringing down global services, the internet is a minefield for businesses. Simon Yeoman, General Manager of Fasthosts, negotiates the pitfalls

Throughout its short history, many have compared the internet to the American Wild West: to some it appears to be a seemingly lawless frontier where opportunities abound and anyone can make their millions with a smart idea and some hard work.

Yes, the internet has its fair share of outlaws, from lone wolves stealing and leaking personal information, to organised groups bringing down global services with denial-of-service attacks, and even state actors engaging in cyber espionage and social media manipulation. Needless to say, the internet poses some challenges.

However, when you realise how much you can actually do to protect yourself, it’s easier to keep everything in perspective. Like every other invention ever conceived in human history, the internet is not defined by those few who misuse it. For the majority of us, the internet remains an overwhelmingly positive and creative place to be, and the world is significantly richer for it. If it wasn’t for the internet, we wouldn’t have daily staples we’ve come to rely on such as online shopping or video streaming, not to mention the latest innovations like AI, driverless cars and smart homes.

With the internet forming so much of most people’s daily routine, and many employees logging into personal accounts in the workplace, it’s important to remember that there is a crossover between your own details and your business information when it comes online safety. If a hacker obtains your personal details, they can obtain your professional ones too.

Fasthosts can certainly recommend a few simple steps to keep your business safe:

• Good password management. Use strong passwords that are long and include a mixture of characters, and ensure they’re updated regularly. Always use different passwords for your personal and business accounts.

• Avoid phishing scams by being vigilant of suspicious or unsolicited emails (particularly strange links or attachments), as well as phone calls from unknown sources and always require security credentials from any known suppliers that call you unannounced.

• Make sure security is taken seriously by all employees. This means regularly educating your workforce on best practice and staying informed on the latest threats as best you can. Create a culture where if an employee isn’t sure, they know who to ask.

• Any good business knows that all software needs to stay up to date. Turn on automatic updates and use a secure browser that provides regular security updates. Use the full range of security products such as anti-virus, VPNs from a trusted source, and good firewalls.

• If you don’t have access to the right skills and knowledge, use ‘trusted partners’ such as Fasthosts for secure web hosting or hosted IT Infrastructure. We advise our customers on this topic frequently.

• Beware the invisible employee. With so many preventative systems in place, the human risk is on the increase. From cleaners to co-workers, it’s important to keep an eye on your workstation and those around it.

Fundamentally this all comes down to not being complacent; it’s far easier to avoid an issue than recover from one, and there are many simple steps users can take. While these steps may seem so simple to the point of being obvious, they’re also easy to overlook. But with expert guidance, you can ensure that both your personal and business details stay safe, while taking full advantage of everything the internet has to offer.

Visit the Fasthosts website here.

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