How many times have you used the sentence – It won’t happen to me? How many times after you’ve used this sentence the exact thing you thought would never happen was exactly what came to pass? It is safe to assume that we should always be as prepared as possible for all the games that life can play on us, and that means expecting the unexpected in all areas.
It is important to note that simply believing something bad won’t happen to you isn’t any form of protection, which is why you should take things into your own hands. This rule can and should be applied in all aspects of your life, but is particularly valid when it comes to your business expectations. True, we can never be prepared for every scenario, but there are definitely things we can prevent from happening if we’re cautious enough. Especially if you’re running a business of your own, it is paramount to do all in your power to protect it, and unfortunately, one of the biggest problems of aspiring small businesses is the lack of cyber security.
Cybercriminals on average throw ten thousand threats a day to small businesses all over the world, and the policy of “It won’t happen to me” simply isn’t realistic anymore. You should dedicate time and money into keeping your company out of malevolent reach of black-hat hackers, and it is no longer a commodity, but a necessity. This is why we’ve decided to discuss some of the foolproof ways to protect your business from cyber-attacks, so that you can have some peace of mind while working on improving and expanding your reach on the market.
Begin with your Staff
Running a small business allows you to handpick who will work with you and know just how trustworthy each one of your employees is. This is your starting point when it comes to cyber security – human error and how to downsize it as much as possible.
Your staff should know as soon as they start their job what is the security policy of your business. If you don’t have a security policy, by all means create one as soon as possible, otherwise no one will know what to do in case of a problem. Naturally, you want to surround yourself with people who know how to do their job, but who are also willing to pay attention to the protection of your company. After you’ve made sure that your employees are loyal and without any malevolent intent to endanger your cyber security, you can move on to educate them on what they should do if they spot unusual activities or suspicious emails. We’ve already mentioned that you will need both money and funds to do this, and the best way to get around it is to hire an IT expert that will able to explain to your personnel (and to you) what can and should be done to protect your business. This will discourage any form of reckless and unsafe behavior among your employees and it will give them strong guidance on how to behave in any unpleasant situation that might arise.
Being proactive is everything when it comes to internet protection, because if you’re worried about your security only after it’s breached, you’re too late. Not thinking about precautionary measures against illegal activities that put your business at risk is practically allowing criminals to get through your front door.
From day one, you should consult IT advisors to tell you what needs to be done to protect your confidential data safe. This will depend on what line of business you’re in, as well as how much of it is conducted over internet. It is safe to say that you will need basic protection in the form of good antivirus software to start with. It would be wise to pay for a good business plan that many antivirus providers offer and that will protect all the devices of your offices against viruses and malware, and will provide you with highly functioning firewall as well. In case you’re not certain which safety program to choose, there are useful lists that categorize top ranked antivirus software, so that you can find the one that fits your needs more easily.
Aside from antivirus, be sure that your personnel have strong passwords for any form of access they’re granted and let them know that those passwords should remain known only to them. Speaking of access, you should limit it as much as possible, so that only selected few can get to the most confidential files. Another thing to always bear in mind is to update your antivirus software, operating system of any app you’re frequently using as soon as an update appears – that diminishes the possibilities of hackers to use your missing to update against you.
Think about Getting Data Breach Insurance
Did you even know this kind of insurance exists? It might look like reckless money spending, but seeing the speed at which cyber criminals discover new ways to slither under our protection, getting insured against data breach might not be the craziest idea.
The policy doesn’t have to cost much, but it can protect you from breaches that are caused by either your employees or attacks from the outside and compensations are usually worth the investment. What’s more, if push comes to a shove and you end up in court, there are insurance companies that will cover those expenses too. Security breach in a small business can still cost a fortune, not to mention the loss of trust with your customers and partners. One other thing worth mentioning is that hackers sometimes use small companies as a stepping stone to get to the bigger, more influential business owners and you don’t want to be in the middle of this messy situation. These are some reasons why getting data breach insurance might be a good idea on the long haul.
Monitor Your Business’ Computer System
This is probably one of the most useful actions you can take when it comes to your cyber security. You should conduct regular checkups of your business’ computers and devices to be sure whether something potentially dangerous has found its way around your safeguards.
Having an experienced IT employee at hand will be of great help if you can afford one. That person will be in charge of doing monthly tests in search of security weak links and they will know exactly what the state of your internet protection is. You need to be aware of your vulnerabilities so that you can remove them as quickly and efficiently as possible, otherwise you risk handing your entire business to cybercriminals. It is incredibly easy for internet pests to stay under the radar even when you’ve got high-quality programs and strong resources working against them, which is why having someone who will monitor your business’ computer system and keep everything under control could be of immense help.
BYOD Policy Needs To Be Clear
It’s safe to say that there is no way of stopping your employees from bringing their own devices to work, unless you want to earn an image of a tyrant. Besides, there are arguments that people can be more productive when working from their own laptop or tablet (in case they’re not using it to browse Facebook).
You needs to have a clear BYOD policy (Bring Your Own Device) and your staff need to be aware of it. Experienced hackers can use unprotected personal devices of your employees to swim into your company’s network, after which it will be a piece of cake to get their paws on anything of value.
We strongly recommend setting up a separate Wi-Fi network for guest devices that aren’t a part of office inventory, so that even when your employees use their private device, they do so through a public network that can’t in any way risk the security of your business network. Also, it would be a good idea to help your personnel get a stronger sense of mobile security, because their own security might be at risk, as well as of your business’ because criminals will first hack their technology and wreak havoc there and then move on to the whole system.
Getting your business secured against cyber-attacks isn’t necessarily an easy feat, but it is one you should take seriously nonetheless. Too much is at stake when it comes to internet security and you want to do all in your power to protect your company, your employees and yourself from dangers that never stop coming. –by Adam Ferraresi