In a study conducted by market research firm, Vanson Bourne, it’s been found that more than a third of the UK’s universities are hit by a cyber-attack every hour.

The study – which highlights the need for higher cyber security – also found that a shocking 87% of the university IT leaders surveyed had experienced at least one successful attack.

With cyber-criminals becoming more sophisticated, it’s clear that more time and more money needs to be focused on the development of IT departments in institutions such as these in order to successfully fight against cyber-attacks.

85% of respondents spoke of how they believe that in order to protect intellectual property, funding needs to be increased. It was also found that out of the respondents, 79% stated that they faced reputational damage caused by an online hack.

A cyber-attack can have devastating effects for anyone targeted, whether that’s a business or an individual. Private data and information can be accessed and an organisation’s security network can be compromised.

How to protect your organisation

By implementing a number of simple steps and following online safety strategies, your organisation can work towards preventing online criminals from gaining access to your online data and damaging your overall reputation.

Here are a few tips:

Risks: You need to find your weak spots and clearly define your vulnerabilities. This will ensure that your cyber-security strategy can be tailored to suit the organisation’s needs and work towards improving these vulnerabilities.

Data encryption: Ensuring that data is encrypted protects the confidentiality of your systems online and obscures information that cannot be deciphered without keys. This makes it much harder for any cyber-criminals to duplicate or use private information.

Ensure your database is secure: Databases are popular targets for online criminals so keeping a close eye on what you store keeps you on top and one step ahead. It may be useful to use a separate database that offers protection features such as a firewall, this adds a significant amount of security.

Antivirus: Where sensitive data is stored and used, antivirus protection should be installed. This is a simple task that can save you from a severe data breach.

Company policy: Creating a company policy that designates a small number of people to handle sensitive information will limit the chances of a cyber-attack taking place. Employees should all be working from the same rule book and be clear on the company policies and procedures. This will result in a sturdy online safety strategy being implemented across the company.

A cyber-attack can happen at any time and to anyone so it’s important to make sure that your organisation is prepared should one hit. The damage a data breach can have on an organisation can be irreparable and have devastating effects for the people affected so you can never be over prepared.

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