Digital security breaches are one the biggest growing threats to any small business. The large corporations that are in the news for data breaches are able to survive due to their sheer size. Nonetheless, they still lose millions of dollars and a large amount of the public goodwill toward them from those incidents. Your business cannot afford a loss of that magnitude, or even a moderate loss, from a tiny breach. If you aren’t taking the proper precautions, you are putting all of your work at risk.
Fortunately, there are ways to help your business in the realm of cybersecurity, even on a budget. Here are a few of the most popular and effective ones:
Using Virtual Private Networks
If you or your employees use public WiFi when taking care of business errands or meeting clients, then any relevant parties should be equipped with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their mobile devices and laptops. Many hackers use tools that will intercept any traffic sent over unprotected public networks. They are nearly impossible to notice, and the hackers get away with it nearly every time. This looming threat means that your account information, client information or business data can be stolen without your employee knowing a thing.
A VPN connects your device to an offsite secure server via an encrypted connection. The server will mask your device’s IP address, allowing you to hide your activities and location. The encryption will keep out any lurkers who desire a look at your company’s data. VPNs are very cost-effective, and once you get one, you’ll find that your company will have a lot more freedom to safely conduct its online operations.
Regulation and Human Error
The greatest thing that you have to worry about with cybersecurity is human error. Do your employees or coworkers know the basics of cybersecurity? Do you know people who won’t even bother to use a strong password on their computer or a lock screen on their smartphone? These are the people you need to talk to first. Every study signifies that the majority of breaches are caused by human error, so before upgrading systems, you need to update your regulations and policies.
Here are a few useful ones to start out with:
- Any company device needs to be password protected. The passwords need to be at least ten characters of different types. There should be no dictionary words in the password.
- Any cloud services should only be accessible by appropriate employees. File sharing should be carefully watched, and any employee leaving or terminated should have their access revoked immediately in order to prevent retaliation.
- Review all general security procedures at least every three months, and all employees should be briefed on the latest threats to look out for. Not every employee needs to be a cybersecurity expert, but they should at least be able to know when to call in an expert.
The importance of vigilance cannot be overstated. While there are a number of tips that might help combat current, rare and specific threats, they will become irrelevant in a few months’ time due to the constantly changing internet. Buying the latest technology for defense is nice, but it isn’t necessary for a small company. A growing company needs to focus on keeping a close watch on its important data, removing it from the internet if necessary. Keep a few cybersecurity blogs on subscription to take note of the environment. Sound decision making regarding sensitive files is key.
If you aren’t personally responsible for customer and company data, it should be in the hands of one of your most trusted managers, checked every day, and procedures keeping it safe adapted to the times. If cloud storage looks vulnerable, buy a few external hard drives. If there is an untrustworthy employee that has access to sensitive records, deal with the problem immediately. Hackers work fast, and you will need to work faster to protect yourself.
Do you have any internet security tips you might suggest to other businesses? Are there any techniques that you’ve found essential for the security of your business? Leave a reply below and join the conversation.
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About the Author: Cassie Phillips is a writer and blogger who specializes in internet security and takes a particular interest in online security for businesses. She wants to protect people’s information and people’s careers and is glad to write to further that cause.