Mark Murphy, CTO of Workspace’s connected services provider Excell Group, explains what five easy steps you can take to prevent your business becoming a target of cyber criminals.

Mark Murphy is a White Hat. In IT speak, that means he’s a good guy. He patrols the entire Workspace network everyday looking out for attempts by Black Hats – cyber criminals – to attack customers’ businesses. 

Cyber-security is a problem; in the last year breaches have cost UK businesses £34.1bn. According to the security expert SC Magazine, small organisations account for 92% of cyber-attacks, often because of limited resources.

Mark’s top tips for safeguarding your system

1. Change your password

“Fifty per cent of us have passwords that are made up of somebody’s name, and two or three digits. A cyber criminal could crack that in seconds. It’s better to pick three random words, like ‘elephant window spiral’, or a phrase, such as ‘I like working’, but then make it even stronger by changing some of the letters to numbers.”

2. Use lots of passwords

“Have tiers of them if you can. For example, ‘I l1ke w0rk1ng’ could be my top-level password, for my banking, but I could adapt that password and put extra letters or digits into it depending on what I’m using it for – for example, ‘I l1ke sh0pp1ng at N8xt’.”

3. Store them securely

“There’s some great free software you can use. I use Lastpass, it’s a password vault, for keeping all my passwords in one place. You only need one master password to get into it, but make sure it’s a really strong one, and never share it or reuse it elsewhere.”

4. Train your staff…

“… or at least talk to them about cyber security. It really should be a priority for all small businesses.”

5. Be vigilant…

“…even when you’re not at your desk. On the train recently I overheard a lawyer speaking on her phone about a case. Her phone kept cutting out so she kept reading out her number to the other person, then she took down their number and read it out loud. Right there, you’d have enough information to launch a social-engineering attack.”

You can find many more features and comment on the business landscape for New and Growing Companies in London in our latest edition of HomeWork. Simply click here to download our second edition which focuses heavily on the role of connectivity in business growth.