Since it’s arrival from the USA in the 1980s, the UK self-storage industry has quickly grown to become the biggest in Europe. And as with all successful industries, the self-storage industry is seeing a growing threat from cyber crime.
According to the latest statistics released by cyber security firm Symantec, the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate sector saw the highest phishing rates in May. As the banks and other large financial and insurance institutions have steadily got to grips with IT security and protection, cyber criminals have become sophisticated with their methods and are targeting smaller businesses.
Family-owned self-storage facilities or small self-storage operations who may not be as vigilant about protecting their IT systems and customer data are now more at risk than ever as a recent article in The Guardian highlighted. Educating yourself in the latest scams and ways your self storage businesses can fall victim to cybercrime can help you to be less vulnerable.
Here are some of the ways you can help to protect your storage facility and your customers from cyber crime:
It only takes a few simple steps for firms to reduce their cyber-risks. Getting the IT basics right by downloading software updates, installing antivirus and malware software on all company devices, using strong and secure passwords and deleting suspicious emails are essential to all businesses.
Another way of helping to improve security is to educate your staff about the types of cyber security threats and how to deal with them. Small businesses can subscribe to the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme which offers guidance on how to protect themselves against cyber threats. The Government also offers free online training courses tailored for small businesses, while their downloadable guide What You Need to Know about Cyber Security also offers tips for protecting yourself from cyber security risks and how you can protect your small business.
Like many businesses who store their customer’s personal data in a digital format, the moving and self-storage industries are particularly vulnerable to data breaches.
Sensitive data such as passport copies, bank account details and national insurance numbers are exchanged as a necessary part of the business process and are a common target for cyber criminals. With names, addresses, credit card and driver license information, these criminals can steal identities.
Making sure you take all the necessary steps to protect this information, encrypt all your customers files and store them in a secure location is a priority for small businesses.
Phishing and email scams are another popular way cyber thieves steal personal information.
Emails from financial institutions are commonly the ones that are cloned and distributed the most. Always check the email address and do not click on any links in the email. Clicking on these malicious links will allow personal details to be shared with criminals. If the email appears to be legitimate, navigate to the content by using your web browser and visiting the website you trust for that company.
If you are suspicious of an email or you fall victim to one of these scams, report it to the police immediately. Action Fraud is the National Fraud & Cyber Crime reporting centre for the UK and they equipped to deal with all forms of cyber crime and criminals. Any phishing messages that pass through your spam filter should also be reported to the email provider.
It helps to stay informed of new and emerging cyber threats that could affect your business and you can sign up to the The Action Fraud Alert service for up-to-date information about current scams and frauds by email, recorded voice or text message.
If you use social media to promote your self-storage properties you should take additional steps to protect those accounts from hacks and manipulation. Cyber criminals often use social networking profiles to get personal information so be careful of everything that you share and keep personal and business profiles separate.
Do not fall for scammers on social media who promise to deliver hundreds of ‘Likes’ or ‘Followers’ for a small fee. Safeguard your login details carefully by using strong passwords and different passwords for every site. If you notice posts on your account which you did not send, update your password immediately.
Getting the right level of cyber insurance cover in place can help your business to ride the cyber security storm – and help protect your customers too. If you’d like to find out how Reason Global can help, please speak to one of our team today.