Reducing the risk and impact of a cyber attack

Reducing the risk and impact of a cyber attack

In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever to implement good cyber security practices. Care services regularly deal with sensitive information and rely heavily on technology, so having systems in place to protect that is key.

Digital systems in care can open up real opportunities, but the risk of falling victim to a cyber attack is a growing concern and the consequences can be far-reaching. But protecting your business doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, there are some simple things you can do to secure your systems.

In this article, we will explore why it’s important and give you some practical tips on how to reduce the risk.

  1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the most common and effective cyber threats. In 2023, out of the 462,000 businesses who reported any kind of cyber breach or attack, 79% of those were a phishing attack.

A phishing attack happens when a cyber criminal masquerades as trustworthy source to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial details. Care services should educate their staff on recognising a phishing attempt, which can come through emails, text messages, and even phone calls.

Tips to avoid a phishing attack

  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails or messages, especially if they contain urgent requests for personal information.
  • Verify the sender’s identity by double-checking email addresses or contacting the sender through an official channel.
  • Never click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown sources.
  • Regularly update and maintain robust antivirus and anti-malware software.
  1. Business Continuity Planning

A business continuity plan is essential for care services to ensure they can maintain operations in the event of any kind of incident. Including data and cyber security as integral components to this plan is crucial to minimise the impact of potential breaches.

Tips for incorporating cyber security into your business continuity plan

  • Identify critical systems and data that need protection, and outline strategies to safeguard them.
  • Establish clear roles and responsibilities for staff in the event of a cyber incident.
  • Regularly update and test the plan to adapt it to evolving cyber threats.
  • Make the most of the free Business Continuity Plan template from Digital Care Hub.


  1. Staff Training

Care services should train staff to create a cyber-aware workforce. Employees are often the first line of defence against cyber threats, and their knowledge can help prevent costly breaches.

Tips for effective staff training

  • Encourage a culture of cyber security by promoting open communication and having a system in place for reporting suspicious activity.
  • Use the Better Security, Better Care Manager’s Discussion Tool to test staff knowledge and check their awareness.
  • View other free training resources to support with staff training.
  1. Strong Passwords

Weak or easily guessable passwords are a significant vulnerability for any organisation. Care services should have a password policy in place to protect sensitive information.

Tips for creating strong passwords

  • Avoid using easily guessable information like names, birthdays, or common words.
  • Passwords should be at least 12 characters long.
  • National guidance recommends using three random, separate words to form a strong password.
  • Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords.


  1. Backups

Regular backups of critical data are a vital part of cyber security. They ensure that event if a cyber-attack occurs, your care service can recover essential information without paying a ransom or suffering a data loss.

Tips for effective backup strategies

  • Automate regular backups of critical data.
  • Store backups in secure locations that is not permanently connected to the device holding the copy. Examples could include a USB stick, a separate computer, or on a cloud file hosting service like Dropbox.


  1. Use the DSPT

By using the DSPT and reaching ‘Standards Met’ you are demonstrating that you are compliant with data protection legislation and have systems in place to keep your data secure.

Tips for using the DSPT

Cyber security is not an option but a necessity for care services in today’s digital landscape. Failing to protect sensitive information can have a devastating impact on a care service. By following some of the simple steps outlined in this article, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to cyber attacks and ensure the safety of your business. Remember that investing in cyber security is an investment in the future of quality care.

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