5 Security Tips for Small and Medium Sized Businesses
Regardless of the type of small or medium business you own or are a part of, the importance of having excellent cyber security cannot be overstated. If a cybercriminal gains access to your business data and client information, you may be criminally liable for failing to secure your technology properly. You may also open your business to civil lawsuits from aggrieved former clients. So protect yourself and your future with these five security tips for small and medium companies as soon as possible.
First and Foremost, Educating Employees is Key to Business Security
As many recent breaches of major international corporations can attest, a given organization is only as strong as its weakest link. If your employees are unaware of what to look for regarding scams, malware, and social engineering, it is only a matter of time before an entirely avoidable disaster occurs. By taking the time to compose a written policy for the company and its workers, you can significantly increase the level of business security with a small amount of education. Additionally, having a clear set of rules and expectations for how your employees behave online during work hours will save everyone a lot of grief in the long run. Employees who know what to do and what not to do on the internet are much less likely to cause a breach in your business security than those left to their own devices.
Limit Physical Access to Key Data and Devices to Prevent Unwanted Access
Another simple yet effective means of preventing crucial data or client information from being compromised is to set limits on who can gain physical access to that information. If any laptops, tablets, or other mobile devices are in your office, ensure they are physically secured to prevent someone from picking one up and walking out. You should only grant administrator privileges to trusted employees and ensure that each user has their own account with strong passwords to prevent breaches. It is also highly advisable to limit the amount of access each user account has, ensuring access to the data and tools they need, but no more than that. Preventing employees from being able to download files without your express permission can also help considerably.
Secure your Wi-Fi, Add a Firewall, and Change the Default Router Password ASAP
It may be shocking to learn, but a truly alarming number of people do not go through the effort of changing the default password on their Wi-Fi routers. This means that anyone who knows the default passwords for a given brand of routers can almost effortlessly compromise your business security in a very short time. However, by taking the time to create a strong password for your router, you may be preventing your business from suffering incredible damage.
If you do regularly use Wi-Fi for your small business, it is highly recommended that your wireless network is heavily encrypted. You should also ensure that your router is not actively broadcasting its SSID (service set identifier). It is wise to set up a strong password for each band of the Wi-Fi network to prevent easy access.
It may also be an excellent idea to set up a firewall to protect yourself further and improve your overall business security. For those unfamiliar with this term in cyber security, a firewall is a collection of programs that help secure private networks by preventing outside access to valuable information. You will have to check in with your operating system to ensure that any firewall is active and working, especially if any of your employees work from their own homes and devices.
When it Comes to Important Data, Always Keep Multiple Backups and Copies
In the unfortunate event that your small business security is insufficient to prevent theft, copies and data backups are critical to determining what was compromised and how to proceed. All necessary data should be copied on at least a weekly basis and include items such as accounts payable and receivable files, spreadsheets, databases, financial data, written communications and other documents, and human resources information. This data should ideally be stored offline using external storage or a cloud storage service with cold storage for added business security.
Regularly Change Login, Consider Multi-Factor, and Keep Things Updated
Although it may seem like a cliched and tired piece of advice, it is vital for business security to change your and your employee’s passwords regularly. Even a strong password can eventually be figured out and compromised, so you should create a schedule to help prevent any unnecessary breaches from happening. One easy way to do this is to mandate that all employees change their password every 90 days and insist on using unique and hard-to-crack passwords. Another excellent means of improving your business security is introducing multi-factor authentication, such as having to download a security app to generate codes on top of your existing password system.
Even with top-notch cybersecurity programs and policies in place, it will mean nothing if they are not regularly reviewed for effectiveness and updated periodically to ensure they are working at peak performance levels. Make sure not to fall victim to such an easily preventable mistake.
These tips will help you protect your small or medium business from the threat of cybercriminals as well as legal repercussions for failing to maintain proper security. By taking the time to achieve appropriate business security, you are investing in the long-term success of yourself and your company.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.