Using online services safely


Small organisations often use online services (also known as ‘cloud services’) so they don’t have to worry about setting up and managing new IT infrastructure. Most small organisations will rely on a number of online services for day-to-day tasks, even if they’re not aware of it.

This includes:

  • email and instant message communications
  • online storage (cloud ‘drives’)
  • online accounting and invoice management
  • website or online shop hosting
  • social media engagement with customers

This guidance from NCSC, will help you to use online services securely, so that you’re less likely to be the victim of a cyber attack. It’s part of the NCSC’s cyber security guidance specifically aimed at smaller organisations.

Each cloud service your organisation uses should be configured in such a way that it’s safe from common cyber attacks. You can use the NCSC’s separate guidance to quickly check if any online service has been built with sufficient security.

*Note: Some cloud services come in multiple variants with different sets of features, such as ‘Free’, ‘Lite’ or ‘Business’. It is important to make sure that you are checking the correct version of a service against our guidance.*

You’ll still have to check the services settings, and if necessary, make changes based on recommendations in this guidance, and how they apply to your organisation. Reputable service providers make it easy for you to do this, and will often provide useful ‘getting started’ tutorials and guides, such as:

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