Features | 28 Mar 2024

Cybercriminals can’t put the squeeze on this juice business

Mejuicer is a small business, yet its owner nonetheless feels well-prepared to deal with cybersecurity threats, thanks to help from Steven Bartlett and Vodafone Digital SOS.

“If anything looks dodgy, smells dodgy, it is dodgy – right? That’s always the approach I’ve taken.”

Mejuicer isn’t just Joe Roberts-Walker’s small business, delivering a range of fresh juices straight to customers’ doors. It’s also his passion project, which he gave up his previous career as a market researcher for to pursue.

The stakes

Even so, with businesses everywhere facing more cybersecurity threats than ever – from phishing to ransomware and credential stuffing – Roberts-Walker was keenly aware of the need to strengthen his cybersecurity defences, beyond his common-sense ‘smells dodgy’ approach. This is especially important given that the vast majority of Mejuicer’s customer and supplier interactions take place online.

“We’d lose trust and would probably have to deal with the legal consequences of not doing things correctly,” Roberts-Walker told Vodafone UK News.

“Then there’s the social media profiles that I spent so long building up… The risk of losing those accounts, that following, the way I interact with customers and potential customers, would be almost like losing your voice.”

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While Mejuicer holds very little data about its customers, Roberts-Walker understands the importance of protecting it, due to his experience in implementing GDPR privacy rules during his previous life as a market researcher.

The threats facing Mejuicer aren’t theoretical either. With increasing numbers of sophisticated and believable phishing emails targeting the company, Roberts-Walker decided to seek advice from Steven Bartlett, entrepreneur and Vodafone ambassador, and the V-Hub team.

V-Hub’s cybersecurity advice

The cybersecurity advice provided by Steven and Vodafone’s V-Hub team is simple enough for any small business to put into practice.

Be vigilant against phishing attempts and ID spoofing
Protect yourself with a VPN when using public WiFi
Use strong passwords
Use a password manager and two-factor authentication
Have an incident response plan ready in case something does go wrong

What’s changed

With the advice from Steven and the V-Hub team firmly in place, Roberts-Walker was unequivocal when we asked him what had changed most about Mejuicer’s cybersecurity approach.

“It’s more reassured and it’s more strategic. I’m now much more aware of the actual threats, specifically the ones most likely to catch someone like me out, and what someone would want.

“We’ve got an action plan if something should happen – who to contact and what to do. The key thing is that there’s a structure – don’t panic, don’t do something stupid or act in a rush. Because, usually, they – those criminals and schemers out there – want you to do the most predictable, panicky thing. That’s what catches people out.”

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Looking back and going forwards

Roberts-Walker’s cybersecurity advice for other small businesses is simple. “Don’t let it overwhelm you. So many things in business are incredibly overwhelming, such as the terminology. With cybersecurity, you don’t need to be an IT specialist.

“Take a bite-size approach, as with the steps mentioned in the video. They’re very straightforward, they’re very simple, and they don’t cost much money. Don’t bury your head in the sand by thinking it’s overwhelming.”

For Roberts-Walker, a similar approach applies to every aspect of business, not just cybersecurity. “Continually look at your own processes and work out how to improve them. Don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working. The willingness to make things better lies with no-one else but you.”

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