Think your small business’s data is safe from cyber attacks? Have you made the assumption that hackers are only interested in major companies? Or do you simply assume that basic safety measures are enough to keep your company safe? No matter what your thoughts or assumptions were, if you have not begun to implement cybersecurity practices in your business, you’re actually leaving your business vulnerable to a cyber attack, which can be very costly to come back from.
What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is the act of protecting your company’s network and infrastructure. It is a combination of introducing safety procedures while accessing the Internet and company data along with the investment of software to detect and correct impending threats. Companies such as Trend Micro offer comprehensive solutions for network security that will help keep your data secure, track suspicious activity, and rectify any anomalies before they gets out of hand.
What Are the Potential Cyber Risks?
There are a ton of cyber risks that small business owners should be aware of. A simple download of a virus or having information get in the wrong hands can lead to a host of issues including:
- Systems wiped out
- Files altered or deleted
- Confidential information stolen
- Company financial information accessed
- Lost trade secrets
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the types of cyber risks your company faces on a regular basis. For these reasons, taking the necessary precautions in advance is advised.
Tips to Safeguard against Cyber Attacks
- Use Encryption
Should your company computer be lost or stolen today, how much data would be compromised? Chances are there would be a lot of information out there for hackers to use at their will. Encrypting data however, can make it harder for would be thieves to translate the data for use. Encryption essentially scrambles the data so that those who are unauthorized to access the information are unable to read what it says. This should be utilized for highly-sensitive data including correspondence with clients, financial documents, and consumer information.
- Educate Your Employees
How well informed is your staff? Are they aware of the various risks out there and what it could mean for the company if data were compromised? Employees should be made aware of the various cyber threats there are out there so that they can safeguard their devices. Creating a training or informational session that is offered to your staff on a periodic basis can ensure that they’re up to date on the latest security threats. Things to educate your staff on might include:
- Sharing company information.
- Keeping an eye on where they access company data from.
- Being mindful of open Wi-Fi networks and hotspots (where information could be stolen).
- How to sense a threat and properly report this to their supervisor.
These trainings should be carried out at least once a year along with new hires to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Having the staff sign a record of completion for the training also limits company liability in the event that something does go wrong.
- Establish Guidelines for User Access Accounts
If you have software or databases that store confidential company information, it is important to assign user account names and passwords to your staff. This way, you can keep an eye on who is logging in and out on a regular basis, who is accessing what information, and whether or not suspicious activity is going on. The guidelines should also include steps to take once an employee has been fired to ensure that they don’t try to steal company information. This might include changing the password and removing the former employee’s account access information.
- Update Software and Hardware
New threats and attacks are developed daily. To ensure that your hardware and software are protected from a security breach, it is imperative to stay up to date. For instance, when antivirus software runs out, be sure to purchase the latest version right away. Another example might include restarting computers regularly so that operating systems update the systems to the latest versions to ensure you’re getting the best protection possible.
When it comes to cybersecurity, waiting until the last minute to take precautions could cost your company big in the long run. In fact, the smallest mistakes could end up costing you a ton of money. To keep your peace of mind, maintain a positive reputation, and to safeguard your valuable company data, it is best to instate a system for protecting your hardware and data while also educating your employees.