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Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Running a Cyber Safe Business

Written by Kristyan Chance and Asriel Pierre

Cybercrime is a fast-growing area of crime, where criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the World Wide Web to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual.  These crimes can be divided into three broad areas:

  • Attacks against computer hardware and software, for example, botnets, malware (computer viruses) and network intrusion;
  • Financial crimes, such as online fraud, penetration of online financial services and phishing;
  • Abuse, especially of young people, in the form of grooming or ‘sexploitation’.

Within seconds, cyber criminals could tear down the small business you’ve built from the ground up. No matter what kind of business you run, if you use the Internet, you’re at risk for a cyber-attack. The first thing one should know about running a cyber-safe business is communication. You must be able to communicate with your staff at all times. Educating your staff on what they should do and should not do online is important.

One should review the existing ICT policies of his/her business with staff; such as restraining from personal use of social networks, music downloading sites and being extremely cautious with suspicious emails.

The following actions will help strengthen your defenses, and keep cyber criminals on the outside from looking in:

  1. Use of strong Passwords – Make the passwords more complicated by combining letter, number and special characters.
  2. Install the latest O/S updates
  3. Secure your Personal Wireless Network
  4. Avoid being scammed – Always think before clicking on a link.
  5. Protect your E-Identity – Be careful when sharing your personal information.
  6. Secure your Mobile Devices – These devices are also vulnerable to viruses and hackers.
  7. Be Social Media Savvy – Make sure your network profiles are set to private.
  8. Review Bank & Credit Card Statements Regularly – Keep a look out for suspected transactions.

Employee Education

Educating your employees is the first, best defense against most online dangers. There are many ways to help them get the message, from internal newsletters and staff emails to seminars, and lunch and learn sessions.

Online threats come in many different ways. They can present themselves as emails scams, phishing attacks, virus etc. By showing these different types of threats to your staff, and knowing of how to discover them is a very good way in keeping these types of things at bay.

Staff should be aware of:

  • Knowing  the threats
  • Watching out for fake software
  • Protecting social networks
  • Watching out for phishers
  • Knowing how to spot risky URLs etc.

Creating Strong Cyber Safety  Policies

Even the most capable employee would not know all the cyber threats they face, so giving them strong policies to follow is highly recommended. Setting effective rules and guidelines to ensure that your employees know what’s appropriate, and what isn’t, when they’re working online.

Here are a few tips to follow when creating a cyber safety policy for your business:

Restricting the types of websites that your employees would be able to access that could compromise your network:

  • Advise employees of what software is safe to install on the computer
  • Ask permission when installing new programs
  • Have a password policy, including regular rotation, high strength, etc.
  • Establish rules for using email safely
  • Establish a strong social media policy
  • Establish a clear Internet usage policy

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