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Updated 27 Sep 2020

How to spot a security breach before it’s too late

There are some very simple signs the start-up can look out for when protecting itself from cybercrime. 

Henk Olivier, 17 December 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Most start-ups aren’t always aware of the latest bout of security threats doing the rounds. Why should you be? You’re busy doing something that’s about to disrupt an industry or change the way people do business. You’re not a security expert. And you shouldn’t be. 

However, you do need to be aware of the potential risks and attacks that can happen to your business, your people and your data. That way you can be prepared, educate your staff and notice if things don’t look quite right.

1. The stealthy operator

A computer and a network can be infected by a virus or a spyware from an email attachment. Don’t open any emails that look suspicious or if you don’t know who the sender is. This is particularly true of attachments. Just say no to attachments. If it’s opened and it the virus is designed to infect your operating system, you’ll only discover you’ve got a problem when it’s too late. 

Related: How start-ups can take control of technology

Think that everyone is savvy enough to know better? You’d be wrong. According to PhishMe, 91% of cyber-attacks start with someone opening an email – 13.7% are curious, 13.4% are driven by fear, 13.2% are affected by urgency and the rest are looking for a reward or entertainment.

2. Surfing the Internet

You can download a virus or spyware just from downloading content from the Internet. Most anti-virus programmes will stop you from doing anything too silly and many will warn you if the website has unsafe content. Be absolutely sure to keep your anti-virus updated though, if you don’t it may not recognise the latest threat and let it straight in the virtual door.

3. Employees exploiting your technology

Watch out for employees transferring data files using flash drives that they’ve put into their home computers and then brought back to work with them. It’s usually the home computer that has outdated anti-virus software (if any), outdated operating system updates and is riddled with all sorts of risks and latent issues.

Employees need to be made aware of the risks involved when they transfer data to and from the work network and the role they play in keeping the company network safe.

Related: How you can protect your retail business from cybercrime

4. The traveller

If your employees travel abroad, work from remote hotspots or access free wireless networks, make sure they are away of how these are at risk of cyber-attacks and virus infections. Hotspots are a huge threat – you can be hacked, phished, followed and your data stolen. Most hacks happen on wireless hotspots if computers don’t have up to date protections like anti-virus and a firewall.

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About the author

Henk Olivier

Henk Olivier is a successful serial entrepreneur with several businesses under his belt. He has worked closely with partners and colleagues to create companies that resolve very specific South African challenges. Throughout his journey he has learned plenty of lessons about how to get the business off the ground with the best possible tools, but without breaking the budget. Henk is the Managing Director of Ozone Information Technology Solutions.

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