Taking a risk in business comes with the territory for small and medium sized business owners, but taking a risk with your company’s assets online can be downright perilous. With news of spyware, hackers, ransomeware and data breaches making the news practically nightly, now is the time to beef up your cyber security. Here are a few tips from Forbes and cyber security experts on ways you can safeguard your business assets.
- Back Up your Data – In the case of something small like a power outage or catastrophic like a major hacking, is your business data backed up regularly? Consider automatic back ups and redundancy plans to make sure your data can be recovered quickly.
- Passwords and Authentication – Require that your employees use strong passwords that are created by a password manager and saved separately. The majority of password managers save and generate strong, random passwords for each of your web accounts. In addition, enable two-factor authentication on any website or system that supports it.
- Maintain Updates – Always update and use the latest versions of software. The latest versions of software have the newest security protections that can save you time and headaches later.
- Cyber Security Training – Train all employees on the security protocols that you will be using in your office and train them for red flags and what to look for. This is a great way to stop a breach while it is happening or catch it before it can do damage.
- Employ the Best Security – If you think that just because you are a small or medium sized business means you are invisible or exempt from security issues, you are wrong. Make sure your IT department is using the best security safeguards possible and maintaining them. Review these programs regularly to see if you need further security or better training for employees.
(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
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Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.
Turn on the news and its almost guaranteed that you will hear about the most recent hacking or cyber attack. Typically, however, the news only covers high profile companies, government entities and global businesses. Think this means your small or medium sized business is not at risk? Think again. Small and Medium sized businesses make for prime targets because they usually have the least protected websites- making a cyber attack a relatively easy job. The U.S. Small Business Association along with other security experts have compiled a great list of tips to consider when setting up your business’ cyber security solutions. Here is a synopsis of the top five steps you can take to secure your business:
- Train Employees on Security Protocols – Security protocols are great but they only work if every employee is on the same page. Have regular security meetings detailing appropriate Internet use guidelines, email use and password protection. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
- Back Up – Back Up – Back Up – Regularly backup the data on all computers. Have a plan that covers disaster recovery including how to keep your company running in the event of a cyber attack.
- Passwords – Practice secure passwords on all access points to your business. Require employees use strong passwords and change them often. This includes every employee. Also consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.
- Secure your networks and WiFi – Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden.
- Create a mobile device action plan – Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks.
2015 was not a good year for IT security. It seems like every other day there were announcements of how many files were breached at major corporations who supposedly were safeguarded by top notch security systems. These included companies like Anthem Health Insurance, the infamous Ashley Madison, and chain stores like Target and CVS.
If you own a small business, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. This could happen to your small business too. These breaches are NOT just happening at large corporations, they are happening down the street and right in your own neighborhood. In the first half of 2015 the number of records breached was just under 246 million across 888 disclosed incidents (the true number is much higher), with mega-breaches accounting for 82 percent of the records compromised.(Source: Tech World)
What are some steps that your small business can and should make to avoid being a victim of the millions of security breaches next year? Here are some tips for securing your company from Tech World, Self Growth and Tech Radar.
- Have a Security Strategy – Small businesses should have a strategy mapped out which includes: determining the assets which need protecting, assessing how immediate the threat is to your business, and who needs access to certain information within the company.
- Educate Employees – Many breaches can be due to an innocent mistake or lack of understanding of how breaches can occur. Employees should be educated about what steps they need to keep their devices safe when they are accessing work files remotely as well as recognize phishing, social engineering attacks, rogue emails; and told to avoid clicking on unfamiliar links.
- Manage Your Mobile – Small businesses and businesses that operate in numerous locations have more tech to keep safe such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones. Companies can deploy mobile device management (MDM) solutions that separate work from personal data on your portable hardware, as well as allowing the device to be wiped if it’s lost or stolen. Look into who uses mobile devices and are they protected.
- Manage Paperwork – Dispose of hard copies of client information properly since critical information may make hacking easier if it gets into the wrong hands.
- Update Malware and Security Systems Regularly – Hackers are getting smarter and are coming up with better and faster ways to breach information. Follow updates on your technology so that the best and latest versions of security are on your computers – including mobile devices .
- Encrypt your data – Stored data, filesystems, and across-the-wire transfers all need to be encrypted. Encryption is essential to protecting sensitive data and to help prevent data loss due to theft or equipment loss.(Source: ZD Net)