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5 IT Security Lessons to Learn From the NHS Breach

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Tuesday 6 June 2017

You’ll definitely have seen the recent NHS ransomware breach plastered across the news over the past few weeks. Such a huge breach has been damaging for the NHS, with plenty of lessons for them to take forward.

But there’s also a lot your small business can learn from the ransomware attack. While this particular attack hit the NHS, ransomware attacks on small businesses are on the rise, making them a real threat to your business.

So what exactly can you learn from the NHS breach, and how can you avoid a similar attack on your small business? Here are 5 IT security lessons you can learn from the NHS breach.


Invest in IT Systems

Having to invest in new IT systems may seem expensive, but the potential cost of sticking with outdated hardware could far outweigh the short term savings.

Invest in IT

Of the NHS systems that were breached, many were running old software and operating systems all the way back to Windows XP. Running such outdated computer systems leaves your business at risk, as older systems may no longer receive security updates.

In order to run modern, powerful security solutions and software, you’ll also need a modern IT system, capable of handling them.

In the long run, updating your IT hardware and software will save money on maintenance costs and make keeping your system secure much simpler.


Planning is Essential

No business can be 100% protected against malicious attacks like ransomware, so one lesson to take from the NHS breach is the importance of having a breach plan in place.

Being able to react quickly could be the difference between containing the breach and taking huge damage to your business.

Some have suggested that the NHS responded poorly to their ransomware attack, with staff having a poor understanding of their network infrastructure.

Understanding how your IT system works and having a plan in place for containing threats is essential.


Employees Need to Take Responsibility

While you as a business have responsibility for the data you hold, and keeping your systems safe, it’s your employees who will be on the front line of preventing or dealing with a ransomware attack.

Employee Responsibility

Training your employees to be vigilant – and informing them of their responsibilities – is an important lesson for your business to learn from the NHS ransomware attack.

For your small business, your employees have the ability to spot potential attacks, avoid malicious files and act responsibly.

In the case of the NHS breach, some say that trusts may have ignored the security patch that would have prevented the attack.


Take Control of Software Updates

The only way to ensure that security updates are always applied to your IT system is to use an end point management solution for your business.

This allows you to take full control of software updates, as well as exactly which devices can access your network.

Had the NHS enforced security updates like this, they may have been able to prevent the breach. When it comes to critical updates, you can’t risk staff not applying the update and leaving the whole system vulnerable.

You need to be able to keep your whole system up to date, if you’re to keep it safe from ransomware attacks.


Get Serious About Security

Security for your small business isn’t just about one single aspect, it’s about having a thorough and comprehensive security system in place.

Serious about security

You need to think about everything from anti virus to email scanning and web filtering to end point management. Missing one key aspect of your security solution could leave you at risk.

No doubt the NHS will have had complex security systems in place, but it only takes one weakness to leave you at risk.

You may find that having the help of an IT professional will help you to implement a comprehensive security solution for your business.


In Summary…

The NHS ransomware attack caused serious damage to the operation of the NHS, as well as their reputation for keeping IT systems secure.

While your small business won’t have to deal with security on the same level of complexity as the NHS, there are still important lessons to learn.

You need to ensure that your business:

  • Invests in your IT systems
  • Puts a breach plan in place
  • Trains employees
  • Manages updates effectively
  • Takes a thorough approach

At YTL, alongside our sister company Biscuit, we can work with you to build and maintain a strategy for keeping your systems safe and secure. If you’d like to find out more, just get in touch.

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We work with many businesses across the UK to help them grow; making sure they have the right systems in place to meet their business needs.

We work with businesses ranging in size, sector and location so no matter where you are or what you need, feel free to get in touch and our experienced team will be happy to talk through how we can best help.

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