Did you know that October is Cyber Security Month? European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) is a European campaign that aims to raise awareness of cyber security. This takes place every October. It provides up to date data security information and this is done through best practices and education.

Cyber-crime has grown at a tremendous rate, and is now larger than any other crime. As a small to medium size business, you may be under a higher risk of being targeted. This is because your data will be easier to access as opposed to larger, well-known companies. However, any company of any size could come under threat. So, we are going to look at the best practices of cyber security and how you can use it in your business or your own personal devices, to ensure the highest level of protection.

Password protection

Your first best practice should be to ensure that all of your passwords are secure and cannot be breached easily. You should use a different password for each website. If you want to know the real risk of reusing passwords, here is an in-depth article which explains the dangers. Use a strong mix of numbers and letters within your password. You can create passwords easily with a password generator. To keep track of all your passwords, you should download a password manager.

2-factor authentication

Along with a secure password, you should use 2-factor authentication where possible. This is a second method of confirming you are you when logging in. This could be done through a code that is sent to your mobile, this is then entered on the website.

Scam emails

You should always be careful when clicking on any e-mail attachments. If it looks suspicious or unexpected, don’t click. Take OpenDNS’s phishing quiz to see if you can tell the difference between a fake or a real email.


You should update all of your apps and programs such as Java, PDF, Flash etc. as well as your operating system, when notified too. However, do read all of the notes of these updates carefully and do not update anything that may look suspicious to you.


When downloading apps onto your phone, be careful of all the permissions that the app is requesting. For example, a weather app should not be requesting permission for your photos. Following on from this you should visit your privacy settings within your mobile and social media to ensure you are not over allowing access to your personal information.

Secure web browsers

When you’re either downloading from a website or purchasing something which requires your card or personal details, make sure this is a secure website. The way to do this is to ensure that at the beginning of the URL it has ‘https://’ rather than ‘http://’. You may also see a small padlock icon and/or the URL bar may be green. Take a look at Coretek’s website below to see what a safe URL looks like.


Anti-virus solutions

You should make sure that you download an anti-virus solution. There are many to choose from and if you cannot afford to buy a license, you can find plenty of free ones (although these are likely to not be as good as a paid service). Alongside your traditional anti-virus solution, you should also run a dedicated anti-malware. This adds more layers of security.

Back up

You should back up all of your devices; phone, laptops, desktop computers etc. The reasoning for this is in case of cyber-crime on your devices, you will have backups of everything and will be able to retrieve all your files.

Educate users

In the case of cyber security within your company, you should educate your employees. They should know how to keep their company cyber-crime free. One way to do this could be to set up a list of your cyber security policies and have this up around your offices. Or hold meetings and workshops to remind and teach these to your employees.