5 Cyber Security Essentials Every Liverpool Business Needs to Know

Whether you’re in manufacturing, professional services,healthcare, or beyond, cyber security is a key concern for any Liverpoolbusiness. These days, it’s more than a buzzword – it's a necessity in ensuringyou remain resilient in the face of ever-evolving digital threats. Yet, with anincreasingly sophisticated and hostile landscape brewing, it can be a confusingworld to navigate. That’s why in today’s post, we’re taking it back to basicsand covering five cyber safety practices that are essential for every localbusiness.

Why Does Cyber Security Matter for Businesses inLiverpool?

Cyber attacks threaten everybusiness, so what makes Liverpool so special? Well, it’s the UK’sfastest-growing economy, for one thing. As the city flourishes, itinevitably becomes a more prominent target for cyber criminals. The vibranteconomic activity attracts attention, making local businesses susceptible tocyber threats keen to access and exploit their data and gain financial rewards.Yes, this even applies to SMEs; hackers will often use them as a gateway toaccess more lucrative targets, such as banks or hospitals that work with thecompany.

Since many local businesses have limited resources, theimpact of cyber attacks can be particularly severe,potentially leading to devastating financial and reputational losses that SMEswill struggle to recover from. For this reason, re-evaluating your securitymeasures and installing more robust solutions is absolutely crucial forbuilding a resilient business that stands strong in the new business landscape.With that out of the way, let’s get into some cyber essentials!

How to Boost Your Cyber Security (In 6 Easy Steps)

1. Implement Strong Password Policies

You've heard it before, and you’ll hear it again – becausepasswords are a super simple, super effective way of defending your data fromattackers. However, far too many people still use weak, easy to guesspasswords. Strong password policies mean getting your team to create passwordsof at least 12 characters that include a mix of letters, numbers, and specialcharacters (!,$,&,*, and so on). It also means ensuring they never use thesame password twice. These will be the login details they use when accessingany company-related software – their email, tool suites like Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams accounts,etcetera.

How it protects you: This is a first-line defencethat guards against unauthorised access to business systems. Even the mostunsophisticated hackers can guess weak passwords through brute-force methods,and they hedge their bets that SMEs will be lax about their password policies.Often, they’re right, giving cyber criminals an easy in and an easy win.

Benefits to your business: Enforcing complexpasswords can drastically reduce the risk of security breaches, protectingsensitive data and maintaining customer trust. This not only secures businessoperations but also enhances your company’s reputation as a secure entity.Using password management software on top of these policies eliminates thetendency to avoid stronger passwords because ‘they’re too hard to remember’ (orwrite down passwords on sticky notes, which 57% of workers areguilty of). Thanks to its ease and efficacy, this policy tops our list ofcyber essentials.

2. Secure Your Mobile Devices

Nowadays, it’s likely your team use their phones, laptops,or tablets to work alongside their PCs. That means your cyber security plansneed to adapt by way of deploying security measures on any andevery mobile device your team uses for their job. This is known as endpointprotection, and these defences could include email encryption, secure accessprotocols, and anti-virus software.

How it keeps you safe: Endpoint protection shieldsyou against data loss and unauthorised access through lost, stolen, orcompromised mobile devices. With the workforce becoming increasingly agile,it’s more important than ever to ensure their on-the-go tech stays protected, too.

Benefits to your business: Securing these devicesmeans that any confidential information your team deals with – from customercredit card details to addresses to sensitive health data – remainsconfidential, no matter where they’re working from. This flexibility allows fora more mobile workforce while helping you maintain the strict data security standards thatgovern UK businesses.

3. Regularly Update Software

When cyber threats are changing by the day, businesses inLiverpool can’t afford to get careless about updates. As easy as it can be todismiss the notification without a second thought, keeping all software,including operating systems and applications, optimised and bug-free needs tobe front of mind. Even better, if you switch on automatic updates, you'll neverrisk forgetting a fix that comes back to bite you when you least expect it.

How it protects you: Hackers are chomping at the bitto exploit any possible weak spot in software. Staying on top of updates helpsreduce their chances by ensuring your IT network is always as fortified as possible.Additionally, some updates are designed to enhance how software runs, meaningyour team can carry on working free from laggy tech.

Benefits to your business: Business continuity ishard to maintain when you’re suffering data breach after data breach, combinedwith generally sub-optimal software. Taking a proactive approach toupdates ensures that all systems are safeguarded against the latest threats,minimising downtime and improving operational efficiency.

4. Utilise Anti-Malware Solutions

Anti-malware software helps your internal or outsourced IT teamdetect, prevent, and remove malicious software, such as viruses and ransomware,from your computer systems. Since viruses and ransomware are some of the mostcommon forms of digital attacks, implementing a strategy to spot and eradicatethem before they can take a toll on your business is a vital part of our cyber essentials checklist.

How it keeps you safe: As the name suggests, virusesare contagious. This means that if one of your team’s devices gets hit, it canspread throughout your entire IT environment, bringing the whole businessgrinding to a halt. Similarly, ransomware also prevents users from accessingtheir essential data and files, making it near impossible to operate smoothly.Anti-malware software combats this, acting as a guardian against costlydisruptions.

Benefits to your business: Implementing robustanti-malware solutions helps steer your business clear of downtime anddisgruntled customers. You maintain productivity and further reassure yourclients that you take cyber security seriously and can be trusted with theirsensitive information.

5. Invest in Employee Training

It’s unrealistic to expect one person to be responsible forall of your cyber defences, and it’s unlikely mostLiverpool SMEs are in a position to maintain an extensive in-house IT team tostand watch. But you already have a built-in defence squad; you just have toget them trained up. Regular cyber security sessions for your employees empowerthem to recognise and respond to cyber threats effectively, making your networkof protection wider and more cost-effective.

How it keeps you safe: Trained employees can spotphishing attempts, suspicious links, and other social engineering tactics amile away and avoid falling victim to them. Because the nature of digitalthreats evolves over time, it’s important that your team’s knowledge and awarenessdo too, which makes annual or ongoing training a must.

Benefits to your business: When employees areeducated about cyber security, they become the first line of defence against cyber attacks, instead of the weakestlink. Reducing the risk of human error not only instils greater confidencein your team, but it also strengthens the overall security posture of yourbusiness.

How the Cyber Essentials Scheme Could Help

The UK government’s Cyber Essentials schemeis designed to help businesses protect themselves against common cyber threats.By complying with this scheme, your Liverpool-based business can not onlysafeguard operations but also demonstrate to customers and partners that youtruly prioritise cyber safety. Aside from bolstering your standing in thecommunity, showing your commitment to data protection could open up new growthopportunities, particularly with the government and large enterprises thatrequire Cyber Essentials certification from their vendors.

For SMEs with an eye on expansion, pursuing either thebaseline or plus certification provides a scalable security framework as wellas a definite competitive edge. We explored the scheme in more depth in thisblog post, so have a look if you think certification might be the route foryou.

How IT Support Can Boost Liverpool Businesses’ CyberSecurity

When it comes to effectively implementing the essentialsoutlined above, local IT support isyour best friend. With the support of an experienced IT team, you gain accessto specialised knowledge and hands-on assistance tailored to your specificsecurity needs. This support can:

·        Streamline the setup and management ofcomplex security measures.

·        Assist with staff training, ensuring thehuman element of cyber safety isn’t overlooked.

·        Provide timely patches and quickresponses to emerging threats.

·        Enhance and fortify your securityinfrastructure at every level.

·        Free-up leaders to focus on core businessactivities, confident in the knowledge that their cyber security needs arebeing expertly managed.

All of this without having to sacrifice space, time, orresources to building an on-site IT team that doesn’t truly understand yourunique security needs.

Final Thoughts

For Liverpool-based businesses that want to thrive in thecurrent digital landscape, investing in cyber security is a necessity. Byimplementing these five cyber safety tips or pursuing the Cyber Essentialsscheme, local businesses can protect themselves against the diverse range ofcyber threats facing them today. With your security foundations secured andyour digital assets safeguarded, you can reap the rewards of enhancedefficiency and optimised operations, ensuring a secure, prosperous future for yourbusiness.

Make MCS Part of Your Cyber Essentials

Since 1988, our team of tech specialists have been providingfirst-class IT support to businesses across Liverpool and the North West ofEngland. We offer managed IT services to companies of all sizes and sectors,going above and beyond to provide cost-effective solutions that help localbusinesses thrive. To get started with enhancing your IT systems, carry out our free cyber securityassessment to get an idea of where you stand. Then, book in for a consultation to seehow we can get your defences optimised. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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