Last updated: 04.06.24

Cyber Security for Businesses: Its Importance and Your Responsibilities


The internet has made it all the more possible for companies to have an online presence where they can expand their audiences and grow as a business. Alongside this, technological advancements in our current digital era have meant more businesses are utilising digital and online tools to support them in their success.

But with this comes an increased risk of having your business data stolen, with the UK in particular being the second-most targeted country in the world for cyber attacks, reports share. As such, cyber security is a vital concern that businesses of all sizes should be prioritising. In 2024 alone, data revealed that 7.78 million cyber attacks affected UK businesses, costing each business thousands of pounds on average to pick up the pieces after these attempts to secure their sensitive data.

Therefore, you must take the necessary steps to understand the importance of cyber security in your business, as well as the responsibilities and steps you need to take to protect your business data. That’s why our team here at Virtual College by Netex has created this article to introduce you to business cyber security so that you can protect yourself from online threats and cyberattacks.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security involves protecting servers, electronic devices, data, and networks from unauthorised and malicious attacks made by cyber criminals. Cyber attacks have the aim to disrupt, disable, control, or even destroy electronic systems and gain personal data that can be used for malicious purposes.

The core function of almost all cyber security measures for businesses is to guard hardware, software, and data against everything from unauthorised access to malicious attacks and even accidental damage. Most cyber security measures are preventative, and work to discourage attackers by closing off commonly-exploited loopholes and reducing these cyber security threats to businesses. Others seek to help staff safeguard valuable resources or mitigate the risk of important information being accidentally leaked to hackers or scammers.

Why is Cyber Security Important For Businesses? 

Cyber security for companies is of pivotal importance because it ensures your business is protected from any damage or theft of your data. This data can include: 

  • Protected health information
  • Any personally identifiable information, such as passport numbers and driver's licence numbers
  • Financial information, like credit card and bank details 

If a cybercriminal were to gain access to your business’ personal data, they can use what they’ve gained in a number of malicious ways to harm your business and its employees, including: 

  • Holding your data for ransom
  • Using your accounts to carry out targeted phishing attacks on other individuals, potentially gaining further information
  •  Selling your details on the dark web, which can be used to create fake identities

Not only this, but if you have customer and client details in your possession, cybercriminals could also use this information in any of the aforementioned ways. So, it’s not just your own data that could be at risk, it’s your clients’ and customers’ as well. 

Thus, it is imperative that you have business cyber security measures in place to ensure you can not be compromised by experienced cybercriminals.

What Impact Could Cyber Attacks Have On Your Business?

The average cost of cyber attacks can be extensive. As previously mentioned, businesses could spend thousands of pounds having to recover from the disruption of a cyber security breach. According to previous annual data, medium and large businesses have an average total cost of a cyber security breach of £4,960. In comparison, a micro or small business was set back £870. Overall for all businesses, this average cost was £1100. Thus, the financial impact of these breaches of cyber security for businesses can be significant.

Not to mention that the cost in overall consumer confidence is almost impossible to measure, and it’s important to point out that a great many companies also see slowed growth in the aftermath of a cyber security attack. 

Data stolen during breaches also robs small and medium-sized businesses of the assets they need to compete with their rivals and, in extreme cases, can supply hardened criminals with a steady stream of credit card information. Further cyber security threats to businesses can include having to compensate customers for their data being breached, or even being sued for the situation.

Types of Common Cyber Attacks on Businesses

There are several common and repetitive types of cyber attacks on businesses. We’ve listed a few below that you should be aware of:


The most common type of cyber threat is phishing. This involves gaining personal and private information using a fraudulent website that appears to be legitimate or to have come from a trustworthy source via means like an email (known as email phishing.)

Spearphishing is another form of phishing that involves knowing a lot about an individual and carefully constructing a way to gain trust before getting access to their personal information when guards are let down. 


Malware is a type of malicious software that can be downloaded onto a device to gain sensitive information. Viruses are a form of malware - and the most common - but this can also include ransomware, spyware, and trojans. It is often the case that businesses don’t even know they have malware on their devices or networks before it’s too late. 

Password Attacks

Password attacks involve successfully gaining the password for one of your business accounts and then having access to these accounts to either infiltrate further attacks or steal sensitive information. These can be conducted in ways including guessing the passwords until this is successful or tracking a person’s strokes they make on a device keyboard.

What are Your Cyber Security Responsibilities as a Business?

Effective cyber security for businesses is more than just a benefit to your company, it’s also a responsibility. Data breaches can put customer and company information in the hands of malicious hackers, or provide the data needed for credit card fraud and other more costly crimes that damage the economy as a whole.

Over the past three years, an increasingly large number of cyber security experts have come forward to publically stress the importance of safeguarding the data that customers give to businesses of all sizes. The National Crime Agency has also been keen to point out that CEOs must help security organisations tackle cyber crime in all forms. A failure to do this will mean that law enforcement agencies will be unable to keep up with increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals.

It is, thus, the responsibility of company CEOs, managers, and employees alike to ensure that everyone is pulling their weight to protect a business’ stored data. This requires at least a basic understanding of the importance of cyber security for businesses and the true extent of damage that can be caused by a cyberattack.

Cyber Security Measures for Businesses

The majority of business cyber security measures need to be implemented long before an attack occurs. These measures often function best if rolled out as part of a comprehensive corporate cyber security plan, designed to insulate your business from a range of common dangers at once.

Implementing a business cyber security plan that is company-wide is the government's top recommendation for all businesses, and statistics have suggested that up to 97% of cyber attacks could have been avoided if current best practices were observed by all businesses.

Depending on the nature of your business, cyber security can become extremely complex, and larger organisations will have wide-ranging methods to ensure their entire information system is protected as best as possible. That said, there are a variety of basic measures that virtually all businesses should take, and we’ve shared the biggest cyber security tips for your business to ensure you remain protected from cyber attacks and keep your personal data safe:

Controlling Access to Sensitive Data and Vital Resources

Ensure that any sensitive data and private or important resources are only accessible to those who are trusted within your organisation otherwise, if this falls into the wrong hands, this can be detrimental. Make sure you put restrictions in place for viewing these types of documents to act as the first wall of protection against this. 

Creating Secure Passwords

Make sure that any passwords you have for your business accounts cannot be easily guessed. They must be strong and not susceptible to being hacked via common brute-force methods. Often, you can use password generators to suggest strong passwords that are most difficult for cybercriminals to crack. 

Preventing Malicious Viruses

Stopping malicious viruses, including Trojans and keyloggers, from infecting critical systems can be done by using anti-virus software. Make sure that your electronic devices and systems are equipped with credible and reputable antivirus protection to avoid malicious viruses from stealing your data. 

Identifying Fraudulent Phishing Emails

Fraudulent phishing emails can easily be identified in several ways, which we’ve highlighted in greater detail in our article about how to identify and protect yourself against phishing email scams.

These include if the emails have poor grammar or have email domains that are different to that of the official and reputable company they are posing as. It’s also important to ensure that you block these emails as soon as they come through so that your email provider identifies they shouldn’t be channelled into your inbox. 

Preventing Unauthorised Access to Business Premises

Don’t allow anyone other than your employees or trusted visitors who have a real reason to be on your business premises to access your company property, as it could be that they’re there to access your sensitive information and data. 

Encrypting Files Passed to Printers and Devices

If a printer or other device is compromised and you’ve passed important information to them, this can be easily accessed by cybercriminals and your data therefore compromised. By encrypting these documents or resources, you can ensure that your data is protected and not vulnerable to a security breach.

Creating a Proper Mobile Working Policy

A mobile working policy means that if any of your employees are working remotely, it reduces the risk of data being exposed when you’re not at a, for example, secure office space that you know is protected.

Backing up Important Information

Any sensitive or important documents and information, including business plans and confidential strategy documents, must be backed up properly to a cloud server or storage network. If your data is compromised, this would mean that these are not lost or damaged beyond repair.

Train your Employees

All of your employees must be trained to know the cyber security measures for businesses that they need to follow to prevent cyber attacks and threats. This way, your entire organisation is working together in strength to protect everyone's sensitive and private data.

We offer cyber security training here at Virtual College by Netex which is suitable for employees, managers, and CEOs alike to strengthen their business cyber security measures. Our Cyber Security Awareness Course is designed to help you become knowledgeable about the risks, responsibilities, and actions surrounding cyber security in business, and it is CPD certified. 


Why do Businesses Need to Comply With Cyber Security Regulations and Standards?

Businesses must comply with overarching regulations and standards for cyber security to ensure that risks of data breaches and customer information being shared without permission are mitigated. By doing this, businesses aren’t likely to be under official legal or financial scrutiny.

What Are The 5 Types of Cyber Security? 

The five types of cyber security include:

  • Application security
  • Network security
  • Critical infrastructure security
  • Cloud security
  • Internet of Things (IoT) security

What Are The 7 Stages of Cyber Security?

Also known as the Cyber Kill Chain or cyber attack lifestyle, the 7 stages of cyber security include:

  • Reconnaissance - finding the target
  • Weaponising information about a business
  • Attacking the business in question
  • Exploiting the breach of security
  • Installing a ‘back door’ to bypass any existing security systems
  • Using command and control 
  • Achieving the set objectives


Cyber crime is something that even the most effective cyber security departments will struggle with, but you must be doing as much as you can to protect your business from cyber threats and attacks. We hope this article has proved useful in helping you understand the importance of cyber security and how you can implement measures to protect your business, client, and customer data. 

If you’re the owner or manager of a business, you play a critical role in ensuring that you have an understanding of cyber security at least to a basic level, and that this is the case amongst all of your employees too. As such, our ‘Cyber Security for Leaders’ course is just what you need to understand risk areas and identify security threats as well as promote a cyber safe culture.