Hopefully, you’re not one of the small business owners that didn’t get the memo. Yes, it is true that your security is an important part of running a successful business. This isn’t supposed to be facetious because most bosses are aware that the information they posses is sensitive. What you might not realise is just how sensitive the information is and how important it is to other people. There are examples of small business owners that didn’t take their security seriously because they didn’t think anybody else cared. After all you’re not Facebook or Microsoft so why would anyone bother targeting your company? They do it because the small firms are the easiest to access for this very reason.
Basically, your firm has to be on the ball when it comes to its security because there is always someone on the prowl. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you seem as everyone is a target. If you are only just coming to this realisation you might not know where to turn, but you have come to the right place. Below is a list of security measures you can install to make your company watertight.
Backup Your Files
As a security method, backing up your files doesn’t get much easier. The hardest part is waiting for the files to upload because you have so many. All you have to do is select the relevant files and drag and drop them into an external hard drive. Then, your files are safe and secure and out of harm’s way. They are also ready and waiting for if anything untoward should happen. If you do lose important information you can restore it in no time and go back to the time before your last backup. Just as importantly a backup helps you get cup close and personal with your data. Lots of businesses don’t even notice when files go missing, but that won’t be you because you’ll see the picture more clearly.
And Store Them Offline
Backing up your data is pointless if you store it all in one place. This has to be the biggest and most dangerous mistake of all which is why you need to take notice. Please don’t store everything on your servers because they are easily hacked. Instead, keep your backup files offline. Offline is a fancy term for putting them on a pen drive and locking it in a safe. That way, even if someone does hack your servers, they won’t get everything they want. The only way they can get the offline files is by figuring out the hiding place. You want to be safe and secure? Then don’t be stupid because stupidity is dangerous.
It goes without saying that you have security software. Even the most basic computers come with their own security measures so there is no excuse. Plus you can find free versions at AVG.com that are just as good as the paid ones. Still, installing the software isn’t good enough when it comes to security. To keep thieves at bay you have to update the software constantly. The updates contain vital security measures that make the programs even more secure. If you use an out of date program your data will be at risk. Stay vigilant and try and update it every three to six months. In fact, it is a good idea to update all of your software because some non-security programs have security features.
Password Protect Everything
Okay, so creating a password for everything is a little counterproductive. But everything that is important does need a password. There are blatant examples that you won’t miss like your server, yet they don’t all stand out from the crowd. Take your internet connection as an example. As it connects to your server it is a back door that leads to your data and a lot of businesses still leave them unprotected. The average thinking is ‘it is only the Wifi router, what damage can it do?’ The answer is a lot as it is the first place a hacker will try. Email accounts are also a liability as employees don’t take them seriously. Weak passwords will encourage external sources to tap into your server and access your data so it’s important they understand.
Don’t Go Phishing
On the topic on emails, it is a good idea never to open a link through an email. Of the nearly 200,000 phishing emails sent every day 80,000 are successful. They don’t have to be though if you take the time to access a website through the conventional means. Sure it takes an extra couple of seconds but they are seconds that might save your business. Remember: you should only go phishing with a rod and bait.
Routinely Change Your Passwords
Your business might create the best, strongest and most secure passwords on the planet but you should still change them regularly. The reason for this is that it is easier to crack a password that stays the same. The probability of cracking it only works in the hackers favour because they can cross off the ones they know don’t work. They can’t do that if your passwords change on a weekly basis. As soon as they change the probability resets and the task of hacking them becomes just as difficult. Changing your password is a tactic that a lot of big businesses use because it works. You don’t have to be a big business to use it because it so simple to use.
The software will only get you so far and then you have to rely on your employees. It is important that you give them your trust but only when they deserve it. Businesses that hand out responsibility without due cause are the ones that end up with a security breach. Unfortunately not all of your employees are trustworthy enough, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn. With the right training they will understand what measures they need to take to ensure the business’s safety. And if they don’t respond to training they should know their job is on the line. It sounds harsh but you can’t afford a breach. One security breach can be fatal and land you on the scrapheap with seven other firms.
Information technology is the key to security because IT encompasses everything online. Seriously, even the medical records you store need protecting or else you might find yourself in a lot of trouble. If you don’t believe that just take a look at the HIPAA rules and regulations. As you can see, your IT strategy is about as important a security factor as there is in the business world. It makes sense, then, that it has no holes. So many companies are happy to take care of their own IT needs, which is a massive mistake. Unless you are an IT company you should always hire an expert. They will put in place all of the necessary features that will fortify your IT and make your servers almost impossible to hack. At the least they will make it a lot harder to access your data remotely. The most basic IT features can affect your security so find a company with a great track record.
Encrypt Your Files
Data encryption is one of the most effective methods because it is almost impossible to decrypt. The people who have the information need a lot of tools and brain power to get through it, and even then they struggle. Encryption works by transforming your data into indecipherable text. So, when it is in transit or the hands of an external source, they won’t be able to decipher the code. To do that they need the private key that only you or the people you trust posses. This method is so popular and secure that almost every e-commerce site on the planet uses it when they process payments. The green bar you see in the top left-hand corner is an encryption that keeps your card details safe and secure.
Watch The Cloud
The cloud is a great tool in a lot of ways, and that applies to security, too. Still, it is only a good tool if you are aware of the dangers of using the cloud. Do you remember the celebrity photo scandal a few years ago? One reason it happened is because the people involved didn’t understand cloud security. Anything you upload to your database could need extra protection if it isn’t up to scratch. Some agencies provide the most up to date security with their storage options so they are a good place to start. If you aren’t sure it is a good idea to leave the cloud alone until you understand it better. No one wants a data breach because they were too naïve.
Now that you know how to do it, there is no excuse not to fortify your small business from attack.