Topic overview

Basic IT security

Businessman looking at computer screen while making a call

Keep security in mind when choosing and setting up your IT system.

Make sure you have some way to back-up your data. Many companies copy their files regularly to an external hard drive and use cloud backup services, too. For extra confidence, it's always best to have two back-up methods. There are other other storage devices you might wish to consider, too.

One of the easiest ways for someone to illegally obtain your company's data is to steal your equipment, so make sure you physically secure all hardware. Lock laptops and tablets away when they're in not in use, and keep key equipment - like servers - in a separate, locked room.

To protect your business from online threats, make sure you have a firewall on each of your devices. This blocks unauthorised attempts to access your business data.

Biometric access such as fingerprint or face scanning should always be turned on for any devices that support it (as many modern smartphones and laptops do).

You should also install security software. This will help keep you safe from viruses, malware and other online threats.

Once you've planned out all major parts of your IT system, assess whether training would help you and any staff to get the most out of it. Also be aware of your health and safety obligations to your staff when it comes to IT.

It is usually cost-efficient for small businesses to arrange IT support from an external supplier (especially those who need to operate an internal computer network). The Cyber Essentials scheme helps businesses of all sizes understand how they can implement cyber security. Cyber Essentials is free. Absolutely any organisation can use the guidance to implement essential security controls.

You can also have your business independently assessed through the scheme’s assurance framework, giving you a Cyber Essentials certification badge. This helps show customers, partners or clients that your company takes cyber security seriously - boosting reputations and providing a competitive selling point.

The Cyber Essentials scheme has been developed as part of the UK’s National Cyber Security Programme and in close consultation with industry.

If you're not confident about implementing security measures for your business, shop around and seek recommendations you can trust from businesses that are similar to your own. Be sure to have the details of any IT support contract you agree in writing.

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