Phishing: Practical Steps to Protect Your Business

Cybersecurity experts in London

Phishing attacks threaten businesses worldwide, leading to financial problems, data breaches, and decreased customer trust. As a leading provider of IT support in London, we understand the importance of protecting yourself against phishing attempts to steal sensitive information.

From recognising the red flags of a phishing email to implementing strong security measures, staying wary of phishing attempts will arm you with the defences to protect your business.

Stay informed by outsourcing IT support in London

Businesses must stay informed and vigilant to avoid phishing attacks. Prioritising employee awareness and training is a great place to start, as it can protect you from data theft, financial losses, and reputational damage. Regular training sessions will educate your employees on identifying phishing attempts and recognising suspicious emails, links, and attachments. Learning from simulations that mimic real-world scenarios also allows employees to practice caution.

Encourage knowledge sharing, where employees report suspected phishing incidents and contribute to a security-awareness culture. By arming your employees with the right skills and knowledge, you can reduce their vulnerability to phishing threats and protect valuable assets.

Add layers of security (Multi-Factor Authentication)

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is an account login process that requires multiple verification forms to confirm a user’s identity. Rather than only requiring a username and password, MFA has additional verification factors such as fingerprint, SMS verification, Email and One-Time expiring codes.

MFA is essential for businesses to protect against cybercriminals gaining access to sensitive data and systems. By requiring multiple verification forms, MFA significantly reduces the risk of theft and unauthorised logins by protecting important assets and maintaining customer trust. Microsoft reported that MFA can prevent over 99.9% of account compromise attacks. With this tool, an attacker knowing just your password won’t be enough to gain access.

Be cautious with emails, even if they seem real

Staying cautious of emails, even when they look legitimate, is one of the best ways to avoid being a victim of email phishing. Implementing spam filters to detect and block suspicious emails before they reach employee inboxes can help weed them out. Employees must carefully check emails because spam filters alone do not provide foolproof protection.

Encourage your employees to flag suspicious emails, such as those with urgent requests, unexpected attachments, or inconsistencies in tone, grammar, and branding. Setting clear protocols for reporting and investigating suspicious emails will help identify and decrease the risk of future phishing attempts.

Encourage a safe reporting culture

Clear reporting protocols and open communication allow employees to raise cybersecurity concerns without fearing repercussions. Designated channels, such as a dedicated email address, simplify the reporting process and encourage a quick investigation and response. By promoting a safe reporting culture, you can support your team and identify potential phishing attempts early. 

Verify by calling the sender before trusting the email contents

Verifying before trusting is one of the first things to do when you receive a suspected phishing email, which often relies on urgency to trick victims. Employees should pause and verify its legitimacy whenever an email requests sensitive information. A practical method is to call the sender, using known and trusted contact information, to confirm the email is genuine. Additionally, carefully examining the email for inconsistencies, spelling errors, or suspicious language can reveal red flags of a phishing attempt.

Legitimate emails rarely use fear tactics or force unreasonable deadlines. Encouraging your employees to verify before trusting and providing guidelines on verification methods reduces the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks. Seeking assistance from IT support in London, like Reflective IT, can offer training and awareness programs to educate on identifying and responding to phishing attempts.

Use strong, unique passwords with numbers and special characters

Everyone knows the importance of strong, unique passwords, and there’s a good reason. Using weak or reusing passwords across multiple accounts increases the risk of unauthorised access if a phishing attack compromises even a single account. To decrease this risk, ask your employees to create complete passwords that combine upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Avoid using easily guessable passwords like “password123” or “admin.”

Many individuals have the same passwords across all accounts because it’s easier for them to remember. However, promoting secure password managers can significantly simplify the management of complex passwords.

Monitor for suspicious activity regularly

Monitoring suspicious activity is crucial for detecting and responding promptly to phishing attacks. Setting up automated alerts that flag unusual login attempts, unauthorised access, or large data transfers can provide early warning signs of an attack. Regularly reviewing financial statements, transaction logs, and network activity reports can also reveal anomalies related to phishing.

Encourage your employees to report any irregularities, such as unexpected password resets or unauthorised access attempts, to strengthen the monitoring process further, as recommended by Reflective IT, leading cybersecurity experts in London.

Backup important data to protect against the consequences of phishing attacks

Backing up important data is essential to protect against the consequences of phishing attacks, which can lead to data loss. Using cloud storage or hard drives to maintain regular backups will help recover important data efficiently.

You should establish a consistent backup schedule, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, based on how important the data is. Regular back-ups minimise the risk of permanent data loss and clear the way for a smooth recovery process.

Foster a security-minded culture

Encourage employees to adopt a security-minded mindset, stay engaged in security discussions, share knowledge, and report suspicious activities to create a proactive defence against attackers. Regular security awareness training and updates on developing phishing tactics keep employees informed and eagle-eyed.

What happens when you don’t protect yourself from phishing attacks

The consequences of not protecting yourself and your employees from phishing attacks can be severe. Phishing attacks lead to the theft of sensitive information, such as login details, financial data and intellectual property. On top of this, successful phishing attacks provide attackers with a foothold in your company’s systems, enabling them to launch more attacks or even gain complete control over the network. These attacks disrupt business operations and can lead to data breaches, potentially exposing the company to regulatory fines and legal liabilities. Attackers also use phishing attacks to deliver malware, such as ransomware, which can remove the ability to access data and systems until a ransom is paid.

Reflective IT is one of the top cybersecurity experts in London due to our diverse client portfolio, 98% client retention rate, outstanding customer reviews and accredited industry partnerships. We offer a variety of personalised solutions to help businesses strengthen their cybersecurity defences and protect against future cyber threats. From risk assessments to security audits, we have the expertise to safeguard your business against phishing attacks.

Gain peace of mind and unmatched cybersecurity expertise with Reflective IT – contact us to book your free consultation call.

Posted in Cybersecurity.