Make cyber security top of your business agenda

Mark Schofield, director at Haworths Chartered Accountants, discusses the importance of protecting your company’s data.

In a world where we take email and the internet for granted, most of us don’t give a second thought to what we might attach to an email to send to a client or colleague. However with recent legislation changes surrounding data ownership coming to the forefront, it is more important than ever for businesses to invest in cyber security software to ensure its company’s data is safe from hackers.

Communication by email has become the preferred way of correspondence and many people will not realise that they share sensitive data on a daily basis. Therefore it is essential we respect the information we send and protect it from those who may want to steal it.

The Data Protection Act means you are responsible for the security of your clients’ data whilst it is in your possession and the Information Commissioner has started to prosecute cases where he feels this responsibility has been ignored, such as the loss and misuse of data. So it is more important than ever that companies make good headway in getting themselves protected.

It is encouraging to hear about groups forming such as The North West Cyber Security Cluster. This is a group of businesses that have come together with Lancaster University, who are dedicated to developing strategies to fight cybercrime. Hackers constantly look for chinks in the defences businesses put up, so hopefully through knowledge sharing and best practice, organisations in the region of Lancashire will benefit from their research and ultimately be better protected.

A recent report states that businesses in the private sector are the biggest victims of cybercrime with the average cost to a company ranging between £65,000 and £115,000, which could be catastrophic to an SME in our region. There are a number of software programmes available and you could even look at data encryption software. Either way, make sure you do your research and choose one to suit your business needs and even sector. You wouldn’t neglect to protect physical property against intruders and cyber security is as important a need, if not greater, than traditional security precautions.