If you run a small business, you have a responsibility to your employees and customers. Your employees rely on you to provide them with a steady paycheck in exchange for all their hard work, and your customers rely on you to provide top quality products and
Your customers also expect you to keep their personal data safe, from the credit cards they use to make their payments to the names and addresses they provide. If you run a small business, you have a responsibility to those customers, and you need to take cybersecurity very seriously.
It seems sometimes that not a day goes by without another data breach, and many of those intrusions are aimed squarely at the small business community. If you want to protect your business and its data, start by building these cybersecurity tips into your daily operations.
- Train all employees on the importance of cybersecurity, including the security of their personal devices. Continue their education with regular refreshers and warnings about current cyberattacks.
- Set up a separate Wi-Fi network to let workers and guests connect their smartphones and other handheld devices. Personal devices can be a weak link in the security chain, so keeping them off the corporate network improves your overall protection.
- Use strong spam filters and check their accuracy regularly. Many cyberattacks originate with infected emails.
- Consider turning off clickable links in incoming emails, at least for emails that originate outside the company.
- Establish a strong firewall and keep it updated. Whether you use a software firewall, a hardware device or a combination of both, your firewall is your first line of defense against cyberattacks.
- Test your backups on a regular basis by doing dummy restores. Your cybersecurity and ransomware defense is only as good as your latest backup, and it is important to know where you stand.
- Keep every device on your network, from network attached storage devices like external hard drives to the servers in the data room to the computers on the desks, up to date with the latest security patches. Make sure your operating systems and software packages are up to date, and do spot checks to make sure the recommended updates are being applied.
- Stay abreast of end dates for software support. When support for a given operating system or software package ends, so do the security updates. Always have a plan in place to update your operating systems as the support end dates approach.
- Consider outsourcing your IT operations to a third party. It can be hard for small business owners to keep up with the never-ending security requirements, and outsourcing those tasks can improve safety and give those owners one less thing to worry about.
- Give employees only the access they need. Insider threats run the gamut, from the unintentional sharing of proprietary information to the deliberate theft of company secrets. Following the least access policy can minimize these dangers.
Running a small business is hard, and keeping your customer data safe can be even more challenging. The threats to data security are not going away – if anything they are ramping up with every passing day. Small businesses are increasingly the targets of sophisticated hacking attempts, ransomware attacks and other online threats, and it is easy for your own business to be caught unaware. Building cybersecurity into your daily operations is the best way to protect yourself, starting with the 10 security pointers listed above.