With larger companies getting hammered in the media for being hacked online, we are seeing more and more attention being given to cyber security. The good news is larger companies have the resources to strengthen their defenses and they are making needed investments. The bad news is that means more hackers will target small to mid-sized businesses that can’t afford sophisticated protection. So what should you do to protect your small business? Here are a few tips:
Consider calling a professional – The only thing worse than not being protected is thinking you are protected when you are not. I know I just said budgets are tight in small companies but, this may be one expense that pays huge dividends. Also, most business owners don’t have the expertise to set up a comprehensive security plan for their company. If you feel you are a bigger target than most due to the type or volume of data you are maintaining, you may want to contact a professional.
Use strong passwords – Set up password protocols that eliminate the use of common words, names and number combinations. Force regular password changes and consider using password manager software. Also, if you are going to terminate a position, make sure you have control of the passwords you need and the ability to lock down access at the appropriate time.
Provide secure cloud access – Exchanging files via email isn’t something we think about too much but it can be dangerous. Set up a cloud-based, password protected, encrypted file sharing solution for internal and external use.
Update your software – You know this but it’s worth stressing. The best anti-virus and malware protection software is rendered useless if you don’t keep it up to date.
Set employee expectations – If you have employees, they are the weakest link in your security system. Make sure clear policies are set up with consequences for those not following them. Stringent log-in/out procedures, rules for use of personal computing devices or on-the-road use of company devices all need to be outlined and provided to all employees. Follow this up with timely company emails containing information on known threats that may be targeting your business.
Don’t be complacent. In these days of constant bombardment from hackers, you are betting the farm (literally in some cases) that your security measures are sufficient. And, while you may not be able to keep the barn door completely locked up at all times, a little precaution and communication with your employees can help protect your business from disaster.