In the 2020-2021 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reported a 13% increase in cybercrime reports – that’s one attack every eight minutes! It can be easy to think that cybersecurity is an area best left to the tech industry, and that the data held by a typical self-storage facility isn’t of any interest to cybercriminals. But when you think about it, your storage facility holds a lot of information about your business and your customers – including names, addresses, and payment information – that could do plenty of damage if it fell into the wrong hands. This has become even more topical lately, with Australian provider Optus being subject to an attack.
It can all sound very daunting – but it doesn’t need to be. There are a few things you can be aware of and steps you can take to secure your business data, and minimise the risk of becoming a cybercrime statistic.
Check out our quick, practical tips to help you keep your storage facility’s data safe!
What do these cyber attacks look like?
These attacks can take many forms – some of the most common ones that can impact small to medium businesses include (but definitely aren’t limited to..!):
- Phishing: where a hacker tries to trick you into handing over information such as passwords or payment details. Often, these will come in the form of emails claiming to be from a company you trust, such as your bank or postal service, asking you to click a link – and that link feeds any information you enter right into the hands of the hacker.
- Ransomware: a piece of malicious software that can encrypt and lock you out of your files – and then demands a hefty ransom to restore access! Ransomware is usually installed unknowingly by a user downloading and opening a file from an email that’s designed to look trustworthy. The ACSC reported a 15% increase in ransomware last financial year, and the cost to recover can be staggering – with an average payment demand being $170,404.
- Business Email Compromise: if your boss has never emailed you before asking you to buy $1000 worth of prepaid Visa cards and email him the details before, why would he start now? Attackers will often research a company, and target employees in an attempt to trick them into transferring money, or purchasing gift cards the attacker can then use like cash.
What can self storage facilities do to keep safe?
1. Protect your network and computers.
Having a strong first line of defence against unwanted malware and other threats can make a huge difference to the security of your data – and stop some attacks before they even start.
To protect your network, we recommend ensuring it’s not visible to the public (after all – people are less likely to hack something they can’t find!), configuring a strong network password, and setting up a solid firewall. A firewall is a piece of either software or hardware that sits between your computers and the big wide world of the internet, and helps to keep unauthorised people and traffic off your network. You can restrict access to your data on an application level, too – if you’re a Storman Cloud customer, you can configure IP whitelisting so that only approved computers can access your Storman Cloud instance.
Your computers should all have strong antivirus software installed, to monitor for and defend against malware. Enabling spam filters on your corporate email accounts can also reduce the risk of accidentally downloading a nasty surprise!
2. Create strong passwords, and store them safely.
Most people have been guilty of it – you’ve been prompted to create a password for something, and it seems to want the whole alphabet with some numbers and punctuation thrown in for good measure. It’s tempting to plug in ‘Passw0rd’ and call it a day – but the longer and more complex your password is, the safer your business’s data will be. These passwords are what stands between hackers and the sensitive customer information your storage facility keeps! So it’s important to stay away from things people might be able to guess from what they can find out about you online – such as pet names, spouse names, or address details. It’s also good to give consecutive number or letter sequences a miss. Storman Cloud can help encourage you to set stronger passwords, with rules around complexity.
Then there’s the matter of storing them safely. We’ve all seen it – a coworker with a spreadsheet full of every password they’ve ever had, or a family member with a sticky note on their screen saying ‘Facebook: Passw0rd’. We recommend looking into a Password Manager – a tool that acts as a digital ‘vault’ for all your credentials.
3. Protect any information that hackers can use to identify or impersonate your customers.
There are many different types of ‘personal information’ – the term can encompass information such as a phone number, address, date of birth, copies of identification documents or bank account details and more. This information, if it fell into the wrong hands, could place your storers at risk of identity theft – so it’s important to look after it!
You should ensure that your customer data is securely housed in trusted applications, who will have invested heavily in cybersecurity – rather than in documents stored locally on your computer. This is in case your hardware is stolen, and the culprit happens to be able to get into your laptop or phone.
Additionally, you should remove personal information of past customers when it’s no longer required – reducing your liability in case of a breach. Permanently deleting the personal information of your previous storers lowers the amount of data available to any would-be identity thieves! Storman Cloud now offers a tool to help you automatically delete personal information after a certain time – click to learn more.
There you have it – a run-down of three common kinds of cyber attacks, and three key ways to prevent them. As with most things, with a data breach, prevention is better than a cure – so now is a good time to take steps and ensure your self-storage facility is practising good cyber security!
If you have any questions about how Storman Cloud can help you with keeping your information secure, feel free to contact us using the form below!