Corporate security is a serious matter requiring constant vigilance. Whether it’s the safety of your digital assets or the physical security of your property, the premise is the same. You want to ensure that your possessions are safe and you control the access. Cyber-security for small businesses shouldn’t be viewed differently than that of larger companies. Despite the differences in size, revenue, and resources, they can both fall prey to malicious attacks.
We live in a fast-paced, computer-reliant society. Most of us pay our bills and buy things online. We keep personal files and entire business databases in the cloud. Basically, our entire lives are stored online.
This makes cyber-security a priority for any person or organisation. Depending on the extent and target, the impact of security breaches can range from mild inconvenience to severe business damage.
What is cyber-security?
Cybersecurity refers to the protection of computer systems from theft, damage and service disruption. This includes damage to hardware, software, and data. Cyber-security involves control of the physical and digital access to your IT infrastructure in order to prevent harmful activities, whether accidental or intentional.
People usually associate cyber-attacks with large corporations or state institutions, simply because they’re making the headlines. But don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security if you’re a small business owner. The truth is, small businesses get targeted just as often. Also, most of them don’t allocate sufficient resources to digital security. This gives hackers a tempting combination of rich digital assets and poor protection.
What can pose a threat to your IT security?
Companies depend on critical and sensitive data in their daily operations. Since data loss can seriously disrupt your business, you must do your best to protect your data and prevent breaches.
For instance, data mobility can do wonders for employee productivity and work flexibility. Still, as convenient as it may be to work from just about anywhere, mobile devices can pose a significant security risk. This is especially true if your employees use smartphones and tablets to store sensitive company data or access the corporate network.
Overall, both internal and external factors can pose a threat to your security. These can range from simple acts of negligence, such as clicking on suspicious links, to an intentional deployment of cleverly designed malicious software.
How security breaches can affect your business
Security breaches and data leaks can have dire consequences. If you lose sensitive data, you will incur serious expenses. Both to recover the data and compensate your clients for the damage. Also, this data can be used for fraudulent purposes. Your financial health will suffer additionally if your clients decide to leave.
If the nature of your business is invention and product development, this is especially relevant. Loss of data containing new designs or prototypes can terminate your operations.
The hardest thing to bounce back from is the damage to company reputation once it’s been labeled unsafe for business.
Here’s what you can do to improve your cyber security
The cyber-security landscape is highly dynamic. New threats appear daily and companies must do whatever they can to manage them. Here are some strategies you can use to enhance your cyber-security:
Control the data access
It goes without saying you should do your best to protect your business from external threats. However, don’t overlook the dangers from within. An example of this is a deliberate misuse of employee security clearances to steal critical data and leak it to third parties.
Make sure you know who is accessing what in your organisation and which data is considered critical. Restrict access to vital documents to selected employees and limit software installation rights to trusted IT staff. Implement protocols to suspend access rights immediately upon contract termination or change in role.
Enforce security policies
Though not by intent, your staff can open the door to hackers through risky web behavior. To prevent this, establish company-wide security policies regulating the use of Internet, social networks and email providers.
Extend your policies to include the use of mobile devices. Employees storing company data on their mobile devices should password-protect them and report lost or stolen devices immediately. Don’t forget to outline the consequences of non-adherence to these rules.
Back up vital business data
Failure to do this can spell the end for your business. To protect your company from disaster, back up critical data regularly. Critical data refers to information that strongly affects company operations.
Depending on the industry, critical data may include important word files, user databases, accounting documents, financial files, e-spreadsheets, etc. It’s best to store your backup copies off-premises or in the cloud. This is necessary to prevent physical data loss due to floods, fire or earthquakes.
Educate your employees
Employee education is the key to preventing security breaches. Your staff should be familiar with the latest security threats, such as hacking, phishing, ransomware, and the dangers of opening suspicious links. This is true even if they come from friends. Teach your staff to identify possible threats and avoid them.
Organise employee training sessions about the importance of data safety and the consequences of security breaches. Especially focus on those involving sensitive or confidential data. Emphasise the importance of using strong, unique passwords, and request mandatory password changes.
To give your computer safety an extra boost, consider using multi-factor authentication. MFA is a security system which requires additional information (besides the password) to verify the user’s identity and grant access.
Use advanced anti-malware solutions
To prevent security vulnerabilities and reduce the probability of crashes, keep your software and operating systems up-to-date. Install quality antivirus software on each workstation and allow automatic updates.
Use firewalls to detect/inspect inbound traffic and route it only to valid IP addresses and ports.
Some other ways to enhance your network security include encryption of transactions to and from servers, traffic detail logs and real-time log reviews to detect potential threats.
Make sure your wireless network is secure and hidden. You can do this by disabling the SSID (service set identifier) which broadcasts the network name. Also, all storage units containing sensitive data and the devices used to access them must be adequately protected against malicious attacks.
Ultimately, you can entrust your cyber-security concerts to experienced IT professionals. At Inspired Techs, we know exactly how to keep your IT infrastructure optimised and your systems secure and threat-free. Whether you need help with your backup and disaster recovery strategies, antivirus tools, firewalls or security policies, we’re happy to lend a hand. If you’re not sure exactly what your security needs are, feel free to contact us for a complimentary assessment.