4 Easy Ways to Improve Cyber Security You Didn't Think Of

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 06/11/2018
cyber security

This article is addressing something no business should overlook - security. Bigger companies have the resources to hire teams of security specialists. Small businesses often lack that. This is why we aim to teach founders of small businesses and startups how to improve cyber security without spending a lump sum.

With each piece of technology comes the risk of a cyber attack. Digital devices are now a fundamental part of businesses, so no company is safe from cyber threats. In fact, some of the most reputable companies in the world have fallen victim to a breach.

Bigger organisations tend to have in-house teams skilled in preventing and responding to threats. Smaller companies, however,  often lack the expertise needed. This makes them significantly more vulnerable in the event of an attack. Just one breach could very well spend the end of a small business. Our goal is to educate you on how to defend yourself.

The True Risk of a Cyber Attack

To support our opening claims, let’s look at the numbers. In a 2017 Ipsos Mori study it was discovered that more than half (52%) of the UK’s small businesses said they had suffered a cyber breach or attack in the past year. The most common forms of breaches were:

  • Fraudulent emails to staff (72%)

  • Viruses, spyware and malware (33%)

  • People impersonating the company in emails or online (27%)

  • Ransomware (17%)

The 2021 report has shown that even with the advancement of security technology, the numbers remain high. As threats become more common and more advanced, cyber security must be a top priority at your company. And it must involve your active participation.

4 Ways to Improve Cyber Security

If you don’t have a huge budget, there are steps you can take to better your company’s cyber security for no additional cost. They are the following:

  1. Setting an example

  2. Raising the awareness

  3. Identifying potential risks

  4. Setting a schedule for policy reviews

We understand these points are rather vague. This is why in this article we will expand on each separately. 

1. Proactive Leadership

To put it simply, if leaders are proactive in taking steps to limit cyber risk, others are sure to follow. The age of a hands-off leadership board has long since passed. The successful businesses of today need to be shaped by leaders who are present, vocal and visible. They are meant to be the driving force of the team as opposed to a slavedriver. This translates into building an environment that’s focused on ensuring security too. Ultimately, your team needs to believe you aren’t just protecting your business but also their workplaces and livelihoods. Unless they know you genuinely care, they won’t view it as such.

However, we understand that, as a founder, you are very busy and likely all over the place with countless other responsibilities. This is where technology comes to your aid.  One way of safeguarding company data is to implement an information security management system (ISMS). It is a series of policies and procedures that will enable you to better manage sensitive data and ensure your defences are up to scratch. You can reduce the administrative burden by using a virtual online security officer (VOSO) as part of it.

2. Awareness Across the Team

The Ipsos Mori survey showed that phishing emails and malware are two of the biggest threats to companies. The reason is they exploit human behaviour. It’s crucial you provide adequate training to your team on how to recognise and respond to these threats. The best course of going about this is introducing general cyber security training as part of the employee onboarding procedures. The format of it is entirely up to you. It can be a 1-on-1 walkthrough with a senior staff member, a course with a test at the end, a series of educational videos or anything else.

Additionally, you can initiate once or twice a year cyber security training for the entirety of your team. Due to constantly growing cyber security concerns and new lurking dangers, the number of specialists is vast. It is very likely your company’s IT personnel is also well versed in how to protect the company from cyber attackers. So, if you don’t have the means to reach out to third-party specialists, you can have them arrange some in-team training. Additionally, encourage your employees to notify everyone at the company if they receive any type of questionable communication.   

3. Risk Assessment

Given the urgency posed by threats such as data breaches or interference with business processes, you may be in a rush to implement any sort of defensive measures. However, take a step back before you do. Before putting together a cyber security programme, a risk assessment should be carried out. As we’ve already outlined, there is a vast market for services and specialists available. They are normally dealing with different types of cyber threats. Think about this in a way that you wouldn’t like to call a firefighter when what you need is a doctor.

Note down all risks that could affect confidentiality, integrity and the availability of information. It may seem time-consuming, but regular assessments will allow you to prioritise which risks need to be addressed in which order. There are many different types of cyber threats and a company’s susceptibility to them will depend on factors such as industry, business type, operational procedures, software and many others. Using the example from before, you first need to understand whether you’re dealing with a fire or an injury prior to calling help. 

4. Regular Review of Policies and Procedures

Policies are the documents that provide an outline of the company’s responsibilities when it comes to handling data. The ones that have been treated as a one-off type of work stand very susceptible to cyber breaches. They’ve most likely been produced around the same time the company has been founded and not been updated since. Procedures detail what, when and how things should be done internally. Combined, these two business elements provide a useful framework to leaders and staff for the management of data. However, they can also be a goldmine for cybercriminals.

The evolution of cyberattacks is as quick as the development of modern technology. This strongly jeopardises businesses with outdated policies and procedures. Therefore annual or even a twice-a-year review of these core components should be mandatory from the cyber security standpoint. It is a good practice to adopt for smoother business operation and quicker communication with potential clients and partners. Not to mention, it’s a telling sign of the company being serious and credible. The best part is that you can even partially automate the processes. An example would be setting a series of reminders when certain policies or procedures are to undergo their scheduled reviews. Keep in mind though that you will sometimes need to review them over circumstances such as changes in law or the industry landscape. 


Cyber security has become a growing concern in the past years. However, many companies remain at the basic level of general awareness of it being a topic to think about. Many still hesitate to act, often dismissing it’s either too costly to hire a specialist or too time-consuming to dedicate a day of team training. The truth is that it’s neither. There are simple steps you can take that will improve your company’s security with little to no effort.

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