Scottish businesses need to do more to protect their customer information

A local IT expert says that not enough businesses are taking strong precautions against cyber crime

SCOTTISH businesses should be doing more to protect their customers’ personal data. That’s the view of a local IT expert, who says that not enough businesses are taking strong precautions against cyber crime.
Alex Currens of Acu IT Solutions says that a simple phishing attack against a small business could expose thousands of customers’ private information to criminals.
He said: “Most of us get phishing emails every day, where criminals send a fake message trying to tempt us into clicking a link or falling for a discount – they sometimes land in our junk folders.
“They’re annoying, but are fairly easy to spot, and most legitimate companies will never email out of the blue asking for information. So everyone should be suspicious when they see this type of email.”
But if someone does click a bad link while they’re at work, the consequences could be huge.
In recent years, some of the biggest brands in the world have been hit by cyber attacks that exposed the names, dates of birth and even credit card numbers of billions of customers.
Most of these attacks succeeded because one person, in one office, clicked an innocent-looking link that opened the door to the criminals.
Now, smaller firms are increasingly becoming a target. Research shows that nearly nine in ten businesses have experienced some form of security incident in the last 12 months. That’s precisely because they often don’t take the precautions that a big company might do.
But according to Alex, there are some simple actions that all Scottish businesses should be taking to stop criminals gaining access to your information.
‘We often meet business owners who don’t realise the scale of the risk. They may not be using strong passwords, or updating their software often enough.
“Most commonly, though, they’re simply not training their staff on the things to look out for.
“We spend a lot of time helping small businesses to put technical solutions in place, but the best thing that any company can do is invest in training their people about what to look out for.
“They owe it to their customers to look after their information. And, at the end of the day, it’s a fairly simple thing that can save a whole world of pain, because the cost of putting things right could be astronomical.”
Acu IT Solutions provides a full range of expert IT support and advice.  The company was formed in 2005 and specialises in supporting local businesses throughout Central Scotland.
Alex Currens has produced a new guide to cyber security that small businesses can download free from Acu IT Solutions’s website.

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