Being a small business in the nation’s capital is tough at the best of times. Add a pandemic and the looming threat of cyber attack into the mix, and it feels like a disaster waiting to happen. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, in many cases, London-based SMEs can actually flourish despite the threat of cybercrime and other IT hazards. Surviving in the capital isn’t impossible, then. And there are a lot of self-defence mechanisms that small organisations can put in place to keep them and their IT systems above water, so to speak. Read on to discover some of the ways in which your London-based SME can help itself with IT support.

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SME IT best practices you can do yourself 

1. Use a firewall to protect against data breaches.

A firewall is one of the quickest and most effective defensive mechanisms you can set up against cybercrime. Acting as a digital barrier between your business’ data and the efforts of cybercriminals, a comprehensive next-gen firewall can make a world of difference in slowing, if not fully deterring, their attempts.  

If the majority of your employees work from home, as is the case with many small businesses, it would also be wise for them to install a firewall on their home network too. 

2. Invest in ‘the cloud.’

In small businesses, employees sometimes find themselves filling many roles at once out of necessity. As a result, it is often the case that many different people across the business require access to data and files at once. 

Don’t be held back by out-of-date data holding & sorting software. Instead, invest in cloud computing and drives with easy-to-grant permissions and remote access. That way, all of your staff can access the data they need to get the job done and respond to clients no matter where in the world they are or what time it is. 

Not only do solid cloud-based solutions allow for a reliable backup of your SME’s data, but they facilitate a greater level of communication and collaboration surrounding tasks in the business since documents can be edited simultaneously by multiple users

3. Educate your staff 

Similarly to the point above, the fact that staff in small businesses often have to wear many hats at once means that they could seriously benefit from regular IT training. It is easy to drop the ball and overlook specific IT security measures in a fast-paced environment where staff are often stretched. 

However, recent studies prove that up to 84% of data breaches in UK businesses are caused by human error. That is when staff fall victim to social engineering, phishing emails, or get complacent with things like two-factor authentication and high-strength passwords. 

In order to keep your SME’s processes smooth, and data safe, educating your staff on the latest cybersecurity trends seems a no-brainer. In the nation’s capital especially, more and more small businesses are falling victim to the increasingly-sophisticated techniques of cybercriminals. protect your business. 

4. Enforce safe password practices

Expanding on the importance of strong passwords, it is recommended that the employees of SMEs in cybercrime hotspots change their passwords every 60-90 days. Bill Carey, VP of marketing and business development at Siber Systems, recommended that passwords contain both lower and uppercase letters as well as numbers and symbols in order to be effective.

But this is not enough on its own. Password strength should go hand in hand with multi-factor authentication to protect your business. 

5. Update software 

While this seems like an obvious point, you’d be surprised how many business owners fail to make time for system updates. Especially during today’s tendency to BOYD (Bring Your Own Device), it has never been more important (and easier) to update systems and install things like anti-malware software. 

Not only do updates include bug fixes, but they help protect your business’ data by identifying and removing loopholes and other weaknesses. 

Outdated hardware runs the risk of self-sabotage for small business owners. Struggling with slow, unresponsive, and hard-to-integrate hardware not only makes operations drag but, in turn, reduces the quality of the service delivered to customers.  

Instead of living in the digital dark ages, speak to an IT support specialist like ITRM, who can advise you on improving communication systems and help enact a digital overhaul of your business for the better.

Outsourced IT Support 

However, no matter how effective your organisation’s own IT support efforts are, the best support comes from the outside. But before you recruit an IT support expert for your London-based small business, as yourself the following:

What do you want to achieve?

It might be worth conducting an internal audit of your current processes and systems before getting an expert to do it for you. Assess your digital presence and security measures with your staff and identify any noticeable weakness that could be improved upon. 

To truly get the most out of outsourced, you must know what you want to achieve before you start. What direction do you want to move in? Do you need better communications? Are you relocating? Do you need a local IT support expert?

Bespoke IT Support London solutions 

Are you struggling to keep up with running a small business in London and managing its IT systems? Get in touch with IT support expert ITRM today and we can find a unique solution for you. 

In the meantime, browse our IT support pages and blog for more advice about protecting and improving your business’ IT.

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