As more and more small businesses open their eyes to the possibilities of an online world – whether promoting their work through social media channels or boosting business opportunities through regular website updates and online product sales, the risks of cyber-crime become increasingly apparent. IT consultants are aware of such risks and are always on hand to assist with any upcoming problems.

Glowing Mouse (PD)Whether through relative inexperience or a simple resource or process that is overlooked, many companies remain vulnerable to such threats. A recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that about 3 in 10 of its members have been victims of online crime in the past year. Virus infection accounted for 20% of those respondents, while email phishing and hacking also accounted for a large percentage. Presenting his findings at a conference in London earlier this month, Chairman Mike Cherry said "there are clear actions that businesses can take to help themselves."

Below are a few ideas which small business can take to crack down on cyber-crime.

Regularly update security patches

As IT infrastructures grow ever more sophisticated, so too do any potential threats – which is why you should be proactively updating software on computers as often as is necessary. Help train your colleagues to recognise how useful even the optional updates can be – and to see them as anything other than a waste of time in installing.

Staff training

Whether presenting to the whole company or simply offering some one-on-one time, other employees are unlikely to be as experienced in software operations as you – so ensure that they make the time to be fully briefed on any potential threats and unusual computer processes which may crop up.

Company procedure reviews

Although the training would be especially useful at a pinch, it would be worth taking a more general overview of what can be done within the company going forward. Speak to the key decision-makers about tightening up IT policies and procedures – this can be as small as a ban on downloads or as major as a full-scale software deployment on all company computers – but the more integral to the business plan, the better.

Protect against loss

Any small business should consider acquiring IT consultant insurance – with the best intentions, a business can only do so much to protect against vulnerability, and such incidents might result in future damage not only to their reputation but also financially. As a type of professional indemnity insurance, IT consultant insurance will protect a business provided that they are otherwise sufficiently prepared for the worst-case scenario.

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