A Business Owner’s Guide To Cyber Security
As a business owner, your company obviously makes up a large part of your life. You’ve probably put in hours upon hours to get your business up and running, and still devote all you have to keeping it afloat. I don’t mean to alarm you, but there are people out there looking to undo your hard work! A single breach of cyber security can mean a total catastrophe for your business. In 2016, cyber criminals are more sophisticated than ever, so don’t leave anything to chance! Here’s a guide to keeping your company’s cyber security up to scratch.
First of all, make sure you’re protected against viruses, spyware, and similar malicious programs. Every single computer at your business needs to have antivirus software and antispyware. These should come from reputable source, and be updated regularly. It’s one thing to buy this software for a home computer. It’s something completely different for a company holding a lot of customer information. Take your time shopping around, and try to find a company that offers specialised commercial packages. Eset is one good example of this. Once all of your computers are protected, make sure you’re keeping up with any patches and updates.
Cyber threats can also wreak havoc at your business through other means. You need to make sure all your company networks are as secure as the devices themselves. Ensure your business’s internet connection is protected by encryption and a reliable firewall. If you make use of a Wi-Fi network, as a lot of modern businesses do, be sure to hide it and use a strong password. This will ensure some hacker in the next building isn’t leeching off your network for free! Making a network secure varies from provider to provider. Some may promise better security than others, so again have a good look at the market.
You need to establish some good company policies for protecting sensitive data. Personally identifiable information, or PII, should be your number one priority here. Sensitive PII is any kind of data which, if disclosed, would cause harm to the individual it’s about. Whenever this kind of info is transmitted, it needs to be handled and protected appropriately. The measures you take will depend on the kind of business you’re running, and the customer details you hold onto. Once you’ve figured these out though, enforce them like a slave driver. Breaching your cyber security policies should be a very serious discrepancy. Make sure your employees know this!
This next tip should be carried out in conjunction with the last one. That way, you won’t have to fire too many people! Make sure you keep your entire workforce educated about the kind of cyber threats you’re up against. Although illegal, cybercrime is an enterprise like any other. As such, it’s constantly changing and developing. You need to keep up with this process if you want to remain protected. Martinus Tech is a pretty good site to find out about emerging cyber threats. Your employees need to be just as up-to-date as you are. They also need to know the best ways of protecting your company’s data. The safe use of social networking sites is a big topic at the moment. Your employees could unwittingly leak sensitive information to your competitors through social networks. Make sure everyone on your staff knows how to post without releasing any secrets to the public. You can start off soft, but eventually you should make these practices part of company policy. Just like any rules, you need to hold a worker accountable if they breach them.
If you’re concerned about your staff’s sense of cyber security, then you might want to take it into your own hands. Enforce a policy that requires your staff to set strong passwords, and change them often. If you want your security to be airtight, then consider multifactor authentication. This means security which requires more than a password to get into. Even one more factor can make your company data exceedingly secure. Authenticator codes are a popular choice. These will create a random, secondary password and send it directly to your employee’s phones.
My next tip is for protecting your raw capital. Work with your banks and credit card providers to make sure all your financial doings are as secure as possible. Find out what anti-fraud measures are in place, and discuss any further options available to you. If you have to use less secure programs to process payments, then isolate this to one computer. Make sure this device isn’t used for other financial processes or web surfing. There are all kinds of security measures surrounding your finances already. However, a breach could spell disaster, so make sure you don’t brush over this!
Finally, don’t neglect your mobile devices. Mobile devices are now a big part of business, especially those in creative industries. I bet you’d find it hard to count the smartphones and tablets being used at your company on a daily basis. Although they can make a business much more efficient and streamlined, they can also make your cybersecurity a little shaky. If the mobile devices at your firm contain any sensitive data, then you should be treating them no differently than your desktops. Make sure your employees put a password on their device, install security apps, and encrypt any sensitive data. Safe social media use should be promoted on these too. If any unprotected device joins a public network, a fairly amateur hacker can poke their nose in anything. This is a fairly new factor to cybercrime, so educate your workforce on it. You should also have strict reporting policies for any lost or stolen equipment. I’m sure you don’t like the thought of all your company’s data being left on a train somewhere!
Cybercrime is hard to guard against, and never sits still for long. However, if you understand present threats and take the right measures, your company should be safe. Following this guide might be a hassle, true. Believe me though, it’s better than a full-scale security breach!