27 September 2021
6 min read
Please be aware that this is a guide only and you should seek specific advice for your business*
Whilst no security system or plan can ever be 100% safe it's important to be prepared to deal with an attack as well as knowing what to do if your business falls victim to cybercrime.
Together with one of our partners the Cyber Resilience Centre, which is a not-for-profit that helps companies develop resilience to cybercrime, we’ve put together a guide to cyber security for your business to familiarise yourself with common cyber-attacks that could occur and how to prevent them.
What is cyber security? Cyber security is important because of how much we all use our phones, computers and the internet. The running of businesses has changed considerably in the last five years and cyber security's core function is to protect the devices you and your employees use and the services we have access to - both online and at work - from theft or damage.
We must work to prevent unauthorised access to the vast amount of business information we store on these devices, and online, that includes details of our customers, employees and suppliers. Should access be gained, fraudsters can do things such as setting up a company using your details, commit invoice fraud by obtaining details about your suppliers and leak personal information about your customers and employees.
Your business should take the necessary steps to prevent cybercriminals from getting hold of your accounts, data, and devices as the detriment can be huge.
Your business should regularly back up documents and data in at least one other place to minimise the risk of losing everything if you get a ransomware virus.
You can back up data onto:
Make sure your staff are aware of common fraud threats such as phishing and malware and how to avoid them. If an email or text is unexpected or seems unusual, even if it’s from a customer you know, your staff should be encouraged to contact the sender directly to check if they have sent it.
Remember, your bank, the police, the NHS, HMRC and reputable companies will never ask for sensitive or financial details of your business via email, phone or text.
How to protect your business from scams, known as 'phishing'?
You can report a suspected Cyber fraud email issue by forwarding phishing emails to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) suspicious email reporting service via email@example.com and forward phishing text messages to your network provider via shortcode 7726 who will both take steps to prevent these at the source.
Social networks are a great way of keeping in touch with customers, but always be mindful of how much information you are sharing. Avoid sharing any personal information about you and your business and be aware of any links shared making sure they are from legitimate sources before clicking.
The national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, Action Fraud received 15,214 reports of email and social media hacking between February 2020 and February 2021 – with 88 per cent of victims being individuals and 12 per cent being businesses that had accounts compromised by criminals.
Make sure you:
You can read more about the steps you can take to protect yourself from cyber crime and fraud on our website, along with links to some recommended organisations that provide further expert help and guidance.
Police forces have dedicated specialist cybercrime teams who are highly trained and experienced in investigating cybercrime and at putting the victim’s needs at the forefront of the investigation.
If you are a business, charity or other organisation currently suffering a live cyber-attack (in progress), you should call the police at any time on 101 or report the attack to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately.
If you are a business customer of The Co-operative Bank and think you have revealed security details, fallen victim to fraud, or notice any unusual activity on your account, you can contact us here.
To reduce the chances of your business becoming a victim of cybercrime you don’t need to be a computer expert. Developing a few good online habits drastically reduces your chances of becoming a victim, makes you less vulnerable and helps your business operate online safely.
One of our partners, the Cyber Resilience Centre, works with small and micro-businesses through their free core membership, as a helpful introduction to cyber resilience and how to train you and your employees to be cyber aware.
For more helpful support and resources, our Business Exchange hosts a wide range of content tailored to you and your business.
*While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by The Co-operative Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. This is merely a guide and each business is unique in its requirements. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.