Security for small businesses should not be taken lightly. If there is no effective protection from possible security breaches the consequences can be devastating.
Businesses cannot exist without digital connectivity. But everytime you open a digital window, you run the risk of undesirable outcomes. Hackers can steal data which can damage company brand and your relationship with employees and customers.
There are real potential security risks for both small and large companies. But today small companies are even more attractive targets for hackers given their size, lack of skilled staff and minimal funds devoted to data defence.
It’s vital for your business to protect itself. But in the ever-changing world of technology it can be hard to figure out which steps you should take. But there is no guaranteed strategy for avoiding security breaches or loss of data, but there is a lot to do in terms of prevention.
Here are some data security tips especially to consider for small businesses.
Protect data by using clean machines and update software regularly
It is important that you protect your systems by using the latest reliable antivirus software, web browsers, and operating system. Always be cautious with free software because you never know if it carries computer viruses that can steal your data and passwords.
Weak and rarely (or never) changed passwords leave your systems vulnerable to brute force virus attacks. A strong password should include special characters, lower and upper case letters, and digits. Make sure to limit the number of attempts at all stages of your authentication process. And when two-factor authentication is offered, use it. This maximises your company security.
Surfing anonymously brings some level of security, because it prevents others knowing your browsing history. But the best tool for secure browsing is a VPN. Check that your address starts with ‘https’ (HTTP Secure), not just plain text ‘http’. Remember to lock your screen or log out when you’re not using your device. All this prevents hackers from accessing your accounts easily.
Train employees in security protocols
One of the biggest security threats to small businesses is the ignorance of employees. Before you even hire the first worker, you should outline and then train people in basic security practises, such as OWASP, within company and how to keep sensitive information safe.
Consider on-screen keyboards for sensitive information
Hackers can gain access to your information by using keylogging and other software that records your keystrokes and actions. This is especially a risk if you are using shared computers. If possible, use an on screen keyboard for sensitive actions e.g. logging in, to make it more difficult for such tracking software to hack your systems.
You should have a secure remote backup of your system and data. In the case of a data loss issue, when all else fails a data backup will allow your business to continue operating and to recover quickly. Backup data, if possible once a day, or at least weekly. If you are using a cloud system, then a backup should be taken care of automatically for you.
Use secure wireless connection
Unprotected and unsecured wireless networks are on of the most common access points for attackers. So, make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure, encrypted, and hidden. Don’t use WEP, which is notoriously weak security standard. Use recommended strong security standard WPA2.
Only your most trusted employees and business partners should have access to sensitive data e.g. customer details. Keep a careful inventory of who has access to what. Then if someone leaves the company you can quickly change codes and passwords.
PlanMill Ltd. is a leading provider of user-friendly web-based CRM, PROJECT and ERP Cloud solutions designed for the service business. We enable organizations to streamline business processes, improve control of their customers, personnel, projects and finance – while enhancing productivity and profitability.