Whether you are a small or medium sized business owner or manager, threats to the computer and online security of your company are real and change every day. Sometimes it’s hard to stay ahead of the curve when you have other concerns and challenges on your plate. But it’s important to have a Cybersecurity plan to prevent your company from being damaged by a security breach. Small businesses are more and more victims of data breaches. According to experts, these conditions arise as small businesses are not updating their security controls regularly. Here are a few things you can put in place to mitigate the security risks to your firm.
In almost every business, your data is an incredibly valuable asset to your business, consequently, it’s also valuable to hackers and thieves. Learn more here on some measures to take to keep your business secure.
1. Ongoing awareness and Cyberecurity training of your employees is paramount. It is a proven fact that a major cause of data breaches are employees in small and mid-size business. This is usually because of a lack of awareness regarding data security. Employees usually make innocent mistakes as they are not aware of how hackers operate. These innocent mistakes can be very costly, and fortunately many can be prevented with regular education.
Before giving out any confidential information, employees should check the legitimacy of the person or entity requesting the information. When working online beware of websites that don’t hold an SSL certificate. Steer clear of suspicious links and online ads, websites and emails. Emails may seem innocent, but attachments should never be opened from unknown people and sources. Hackers post links, disguised as a trusted source, to get hold of confidential data. When employees click on that particular link a virus is installed on their computer. This is how they get all the confidential data. Consequently, regularly updated virus protection software for Cybersecurity is a good investment.
2. Protect your data using strong passwords. When new staff are hired or let go, passwords should be changed. Hackers often attack passwords to get a hold of potential data. So to protect your devices like business computers, mobile devices, networks and accounts, the employees should change the default password to a strong one. A complex password is where a variety of characters are used. The password should be changed quarterly at a minimum.
3. Access to business computers should only be for authorized employees. You should create a specific user account for each employee. This creates accountability. This will also help restrict access to your business computers. It is also essential to limit the network access for computers in or around your location. Software that restricts and tracks attempts to access sensitive data, such as customers credit or identity info, should send alarms to management.
4. Maintain security on mobile devices. If your employee uses a mobile device to access company information while working, it increases your exposure to hacking and data breaches. Many companies now allow their employees to use their own device at work which increases the exposure to malware and many other issues related to Cybersecurity. Make sure your employees are using all the security features available on their devices, including password or fingerprint protection. Phones should be set to lock down after short periods of inactivity. If possible, It is better not to access business data on a personal device and to only access it on the official device which is equipped with cybersecurity tools.
5. For many small businesses, it is required to outsource some business services to 3rd party operators. This includes operations such as credit card processing, payroll, sometimes even to supervise the company’s security functions. This, of course, creates a vulnerability. The onus falls on the business management to ensure 3rd party vendors hired, are also doing regular due diligence when it comes to security. Thus, before working with any third party, it is essential to appropriately check their security standards and choose vendors that are committed to regularly updating security policies and procedures.
In summary, often the biggest threat to security is complacency. As daunting as it sounds at times to create secure business practices, it is much easier and cheaper to implement safe practices than recovering from a security hack or breach. The Benjamin Franklin axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as true today as it was when Franklin made the quote.