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.

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Allan Baum
Security Industry veteran with over 30+ years in the industry. Founded family owned and operated Protection Plus in 1994 with his wife and has overseen its growth since. In addition to working with his wife and son, Allan has assigned the role of Chief Canine Officer to his trusted dog Waub, who joins him at the office every day.