Is your company at risk? Yes, in a phrase. Just because your company is small doesn't mean it isn't a tempting target for robbers. Data is important, and in today's increasingly digital environment, customer information can be just as appealing as cash.
According to the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security, 61 percent of small businesses were victims of a cyber attack in 2017. Customer records were attacked in 63 percent of the attacks. Customers' confidence is essential, and if you lose their data—such as credit card details, home addresses, or even social security numbers—you can never recover it.
According to the 2017 State of Cybersecurity Among Small Businesses in North America survey, 11% of respondents did not have any cybersecurity initiatives in place. Lack of funding and a lack of experience and awareness were the two most common reasons for not progressing cybersecurity efforts, according to the survey.
Here's what you can do to make your small business's cyber environment safer:
Make sure your server is secure. To secure your company's data as well as your customers' data, make sure there are just a few points of entry. Install firewalls. Keep data backups offsite in case you're hacked, so you can easily restore your data and get back up and running. Only give important people access to your info and protect your business from an unwelcome scam risk call.
Maintain a clean email inbox. Emails are your lowest digital entry point. This is largely due to the staff, who are typically unwittingly to blame. Make sure you're using software that checks your email for viruses and potentially harmful connections. Additionally, ensure that your workers are aware of popular phishing techniques and other email scams. Encourage them, for example, to challenge suspicious emails and to never click on links or attachments unless they are confident they are legitimate.
Password security is available. To prevent hacking, passwords should not only be complex but also updated regularly by employees. Two-factor authentication can also be useful for highly sensitive systems that contain a lot of sensitive data. Try using a password management system to prevent the use of common passwords if you or your staff have difficulty remembering them.
Antivirus security software. Invest in systems that identify and remove possible threats to your system. These programs may be applications or security systems hosted in the cloud. Collaborate with a defense firm. Many small companies do not have an in-house IT department. Even if you do, it can be worthwhile to employ a company to keep your anti-virus and cyber-attack defenses up to date. Consider protection to be a wise financial decision.
Stay aware - If you don't have an IT individual or a security firm overseeing your cybersecurity activities, you'll need to make sure your virus detection tools and other cybersecurity components are up to date.
If your physical office spaces or stores are not safe, protecting your digital information is pointless.
If you're looking for a new location for your business, do your research first before deciding on a location. Look up crime statistics in the area and knock on a few business owners' doors to inquire about safety issues. Once you've settled on a venue, get to know local law enforcement so that you're acquainted with each other and feel comfortable working with them if a problem occurs. Get to know your neighbors and consider entering local business organizations. Finding someone who can keep an eye on your company while you aren't there and who will do the same for you is a big benefit.
Perhaps you won't need to run background checks on anyone you recruit, but are you checking references? Examine each candidate's social media presence as well as a quick Google name search before making a hiring decision. Also, double-check that the details on each resume are correct as much as possible. The Small Business Administration advises using reference checks, background checks, personal character tests, and police records.
If an employee doesn't need access to confidential documents or information, don't give it to them. The same is true for keys: only give duplicates to people who absolutely need them. Maintain control over who has access to your digital and physical spaces.
If you don't think the door lock would suffice, consider investing in a security device. Choose one that sends an alert to the police in the event of an intruder. Some of the safest locks are deadbolts and padlocks. Consider using synchronized locks, which open and close at predetermined times and keep track of all openings.
A few basic precautions will go a long way in protecting your digital and physical business properties. You've worked hard to establish your company's reputation; don't jeopardize it by compromising your clients' data. Limiting the number of people who have access to your sensitive data and including your staff in the security of your company are two of the best things you can do.