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Alex Healing, Senior Research Manager in Future Cyber Defence at BT, looks at the benefits the right cyber-security solutions will have for your business.

Cyber-security is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes. It’s a vital way to protect connected devices, systems, data and, ultimately, people. And right now, it’s never been more important.

As any business that operates digitally is a target – BT alone receives 6,500 attacks per day – having a robust solution that deals with all these threats is essential.

According to The Future in 2021 survey, 65% of respondents told us that the security threat level has increased within the last year. As cyber-criminals are becoming more sophisticated and attacks more frequent, businesses are having to acknowledge and address their vulnerabilities.

Here, our very own expert Alex Healing explores all the benefits of finding the right cyber-security solution for your business.

And if you want to know more, check out the video above. Award-winning business journalist Steph McGovern sits down with Alex to talk all things cyber-security, how it works and how it can keep your business protected.

1)Cyber-security prevents, detects and responds to cyber-attacks

There are three main ways in which cyber-security can protect your business from attacks:

  • Prevention
    Prevention is always better than cure. So, your first step will be defining what needs protecting in your business, from security controls to firewalls. After that, it’s important that your staff are aware of cyber-risks and how to approach them. So, a good next step will be showing them different threats and preventative measures. But also making sure that they know about the consequences of ignoring a potential threat. And training them on the key steps they need to follow when dealing with one.
  • Detection
    When all your systems and tools are in place, it’s a case of monitoring the network so that if there’s a breach, you can detect it quickly and initiate a response.
  • Respond
    By reacting quickly, you can limit the threat and mitigate any effects. It’s also a great idea to put a plan in place to prevent the same attack happening again.

2) It can save you money, and protect your reputation

Think about what happens when your company’s online safety is breached. Cyber-crime can affect your business in many ways – from having your customers’ data stolen to an attacker taking your website down. But it isn’t just you or your business that’s affected.

In the worst of scenarios, failing to protect your customer’s data could result in substantial fines, and a damaged reputation.

Hackers often use malicious software such as viruses or spyware to obtain valuable information without you knowing. It could be passwords, customer details or even credit card numbers. All the more reason for taking cyber-security seriously.

3)Cyber-security doesn’t have to be overcomplicated

Different types of cyber-security vary in complexity, but there are some easy wins that can help protect your business.

Setting up two-step authentication is one of them. But also using different passwords for different accounts. Or locking your phone and backing up your data.

It will cost you and your staff nothing to learn about these things, and can go a long way in keeping your organisation safe online.

A good place to start is by looking at our free online resource, Skills for Tomorrow. Go to the ‘Business security’ section to find our tips to better protect your organisation. 

4)There are lots of ways to tackle cyber-security

From authentication measures to device level detection tools, there are plenty of standard security technologies on the market. Take our cloud-based internet security solutions for example. From malware to cyber-attacks and data leaks, they’re the perfect first line of defence.
But the great thing about cyber-security is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each business can mix and match, and pick something specifically built for its needs.

For example, some companies often start off with detection systems such as our managed firewall solutions. These are perfect to guarantee  network security and spot malicious behaviours.

However, they might not be enough when it comes to preventing attacks. That’s why you can combine these with solutions such as security information and event management (SIEM), to analyse potential threats across all your devices.

5)You don’t have to manage it on your own

Some organisations choose to combine different products to build their own solution. Others choose to use a managed security service (MSS).
An MSS is a network security service that’s outsourced to a large, experienced organisation – like BT. This single point of control manages and monitors data and devices on-premises and on the cloud. It offers a high speed of detection and response to any existing – and new –cyber-threats. Making it highly efficient and reassuring.

The best part is that you don’t have to run a big corporation to implement it. For instance, MSS would be a great option for small businesses who might not have cyber-security expertise and experience in-house. As different sectors experience varying levels of threat, our MSS is tailored to your specific business needs and cyber-security requirements.

In terms of resources and equipment, smaller businesses can also benefit from the lower upfront costs that MSS can provide. It can fill any gaps in expertise you might have in your team. In addition, having a central management system gives you much more control and oversight of your cyber-security efforts.

Or, if you run a larger organisation, MSS frees up your IT team to focus on other areas of your business, rather than the time-consuming task of responding to threats.

How do I protect my business?

Nothing can guarantee that your business will be 100% protected from cyber-attacks. But knowing you’ve got the best possible security in place helps you focus on the things that really matter – running your business.

That’s why picking the right cyber-security solution for you and your business is a key starting point. Here are our top tips for starting out:

  • Find out what’s best for you. If you’re not sure where to go or who to ask, our Skills for Tomorrow programme – and its dedicated courses for businesses – are the answer for you .
  • Make sure that cyber-security is part of your strategy since the very beginning, rather than an afterthought.
  • Consider switching to a managed security service. Using different security tools will help you protect your business, but if they’re all separate from each other, it’ll be harder for you to control them. Instead, managed security services allow to have a bird’s eye view of all your operations.
  • Ask for support. We’re here to help you make more of emerging technologies to help protect your business. All you have to do to take the first step is get in touch.

Useful links


Who is Steph McGovern?

An experienced and award-winning business journalist, Steph McGovern has a long history in covering some of the world’s biggest financial stories.  

She made her television debut after winning the title of Young Engineer for Britain, having saved BLACK+DECKER money on a design she created. Following that appearance, she took up a work experience role on the BBC’s Tomorrow’s World, before becoming a part-time researcher while studying at University College London.

After graduating, Steph became the main producer for daily financial news on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. For three years Steph was the lead producer of business news on the one, six and ten o’clock news bulletins. Working with the then-business editor Robert Peston, Steph played a huge part in the award-winning coverage of the credit crunch and recession.

Steph also built her on-air profile, working as a business presenter on Radio 2 and BBC 5 Live. Now a household name, Steph regularly co-hosted BBC Breakfast until 2019, and now presents her own daily Channel 4 show: Steph’s Packed Lunch.

Born in Middlesbrough, she’s a mentor for young people in Teesside, regularly running workshops for children around the North East.

Finally, here’s something you may not know about Steph: she’s a former champion Irish dancer.