Guest blog: How to avoid a cyber-attack on your business
With cyber-crime on the rise, it’s important to know what measures to take to avoid an attack on your salon or spa. Ian Johnstone, support team manager for salon software provider Salon Genius, explains what procedures you need in place.
The number of virus and ransomware victims is on the increase so there’s no time like the present to check your security and back-up procedures.
Would you know what to do if you suffered a virus or malware attack and your salon data was affected? Here’s a few things you can do to protect your salon or spa from a cyber-attack.
What is cyber-crime?
Cyber-crime is any criminal act dealing with computers and networks. Most commonly "hacking" can be a completely automatic process, with a series of file changes being made after accessing a compromised website or suspicious email attachment.
Having anti-virus software does not make it impossible for your PC or Mac to get infected.
5 ways to protect your computer from a cyber-attack:
- Don't open suspicious email attachments (usually zipped files)
- Review your back-up procedure.
- Don't click on links in emails or social media without confirming that they were sent intentionally, no matter who the sender
- Do use anti-virus and anti-malware software
- Do keep your applications and operating systems up to date.
What should you do if you lose all your data?
Make sure you have a back-up routine – who is responsible for your back-up and what is your disaster recovery (DR) plan?
People often confuse a file syncing service, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, as a back-up solution. Unfortunately, this is no help in the event of an encryption virus as your encrypted files are almost instantly synchronised off-site.
A back-up solution offers multiple restore points, allowing you to revert to a previous state in the event of a disaster.
If you have a “Cloud” system then back-up will most likely be the responsibility of your software supplier, but how will you access your system in the event of an internet outage? And who is backing up your business documents?
If you have an “on-premise” solution, then the data is held in salon. Internet outages shouldn’t affect your software but who is responsible for your data back-up?
At Salon Genius, we offer an on-premise solution, so back-up remains the responsibility of the salon, unless they opt for our monitored off-site back-up service.
What support do you have?
Using salon software doesn’t commonly cover you for hardware and operating system issues. When it comes to a hardware problem, your point of call is your hardware supplier or local IT experts.
At Salon Genius, we offer complete cover in the event of a virus or malware attack, for the duration of our hardware’s warranty period. With a serious infection, such as a ransomware attack, we would always recommend a clean reinstall of the PCs operating system.
Salons with hardware support get a loan PC from us while this work is carried out – a service you can’t get from your average PC shop.
Ian Johnstone is support team manager for salon software provider Salon Genius and has more than 10 years’ experience working for the company.