As the threat of cyber attack continues to grow in 2020, it is clear that businesses of all sizes are at risk. In fact, cyber attackers are taking particular aim at smaller businesses, preying on those who tend to invest less in their cybersecurity. 

58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses (organisations with fewer than 250 employees) according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. These statistics are encouraging even the smallest of businesses to consider how they can improve their cyber security in 2020, hoping to stay a step ahead of attackers. 

Here are a few effective first steps towards cyber security that you can take today.

Update apps and systems regularly

One of the first steps that should be taken to lower the risk of cyber attack is to update all of the applications and systems that you actively use (like Adobe or Windows). Software providers make it easy to check which version of their product you are currently using and any new updates that are available (you’ve probably seen their notifications pop up before).

Once up to date, make sure you continue to update each system as soon as possible when new versions and software are released. Don’t ignore those notifications! Using older software or computer applications can leave you vulnerable to security breaches.

Review your privacy settings

Have you been using the same two passwords since you got your first email address? Could your wife probably guess it? Weak passwords are one of the greatest entry points for hackers and should be changed often.

You and your employees should be using unique passwords for each and every one of your logins and it is also recommended to get a password manager that updates your passwords regularly. 

Many applications now offer multi-factor identity authentication (when you get a code via text or email to complete sign-in). This is a great way to enhance your security. Make sure it is always enabled if an option.

Protect your data

Since the introduction of the new GDPR regulations in 2018, data protection has taken on a new dimension for companies. Protecting sensitive information has never been more important for businesses and the stakes have never been so high. 

The average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $3.92 million

A data breach can cost your company hundreds of thousands in compensation and penalties. In fact, the average cost of a data breach in 2019 was $3.92 million. (Security Intelligence).

You can avoid some of this risk by ensuring there are multiple levels of security on your most valuable data, while the rest is divided up or only accessible via a single entry point. Not sure if you’re GDPR compliant or not? CyberSmart helps ensure you are continuously compliant with GDPR standards.

Promote a security culture within your business

Security should not just be an accessory to your business, it should be the solid foundation on which you build your protocols and systems. This starts with your employees. 

Employees should be aware of how they could place the company’s cybersecurity at risk. You can do this by supporting employees in data security training and rewarding them for completing their training and making sure the business is up-to-date in best practices.


As 62% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are growing, now is the time to act in order to provide your business with the highest standards of protection. CyberSmart’s Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus software not only guarantees IASME certification but continuous, real-time compliance all year round.