Small Businesses Are The Next Targets for Hackers
Being a small business doesn’t make an organization immune from data security issues.
In fact, a small business can be a lucrative target for those cybercriminals who are looking to exploit, steal, and blackmail. That’s because a lot of small businesses don’t have strong data security and cybersecurity in place, because they think they’re too small to bother. It’s a vicious cycle, but one that can be broken easily with an investment in proper data security practices.
Start with a Security Audit
If you don’t have any data security protection in place, or think that what you have is not robust enough, a security audit is a good place to start. With this action, you will uncover exactly what data you need to protect, and how it is currently being stored. This is a good way to identify the gaps between vitally sensitive information, and the protection it deserves.
Increase Employee Awareness
"Companies Spend Thousands of Firewalls and Equipment and forget the most important element- The Human One"
One good thing about a smaller business — there are fewer employees to train on data security best practices! That being said, a smaller group of employees also equals more responsibility held by each individual.
Every member of your staff needs to understand the data security and its importance. That means creating and rotating secure passwords, only using the devices they have been cleared to use and implementing policies and procedures for any bring-your-own-device instances, knowing what types of links and messages to avoid, and not downloading software or applications.
All employees of your business should only have access to the information they need to complete their jobs or tasks. Providing across the board access to every single employee is asking for trouble, whether someone accidentally changes, deletes, or shares something, or in the case that you end up with a malicious employee. Reducing the amount of data an employee can get their hands on is an easy yet effective way to promote data security.
You can also save a lot of headaches by creating individual logins for each employee. That means you can track what access and work employees have done, to track any issues back to where they began.
Think about how your employees share data, too. Often, the most convenient route is the one people will take regardless of security, and that can put your organization at risk. There are applications that exist that enable secure sharing, so employees can collaborate with themselves and with clients without putting security at risk.
Update Regularly and Backup Often
"The worst feeling in the world is knowing you could have backed up your data, but didn't."
Any devices or programs you are running that are out of date are a major security flaw. Pay attention to those auto-update messages and alerts your computer sends you — they’re an important part of keeping your company’s data protected, and will also keep your network running smoothly.
Updates are important across all devices, including desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices. If your employees bring their own devices to work, make it a rule that they run updated devices and programs.
Another regular activity to build into your planning: backups. This is your safety net if something does go wrong. Should you run into problems, a recent backup can restore your system to a good point. That being said, consider how and where you store your backups. If they’re on-site, they may end up being useless in the face of a disaster or issue with your physical location. A cloud is a great option for backups, so long as you choose a trustworthy vendor.
Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
Along with these backups and updates, you should have a full disaster recovery plan in advance of any problems. It’s great to have backups, but if you are left scrambling and wondering what to do when you actually need to get that backup up and running, it’s not as useful as it could be. A disaster recovery plan should also account for how and where your employees will continue business in the event of a physical problem — again, the cloud is useful for this, as people can access their work and resources from anywhere.
Choose your IT Vendor Wisely
There are a lot of IT shops out there. Pick one that understands your business and works well with your office staff.
CloudSkope is experienced and skilled in auditing data security and creating robust strategies and solutions for companies of all sizes, including small businesses. We understand that investing in data security may be a new concept for some small businesses, and also the value of doing so. With our services you will get the most value for your money, investing in preventative data security that will ultimately save you money over the long term, versus having to deal with cleaning up a security mess.
Consider us partners in your small business, doing the heavy lifting of data security assessment and planning so you can focus on business operations.
For more information about how we can assist you, please contact us.