10 Key Small Business Security Measures
There are a lot of threats out there ...
Small business security should always be at the forefront of your mind. When you consider all of your sensitive data, it's not hard to see why a breach could cause you seriously damage ...
Small business security is vital to any business. A data breach can be fatal!
copyright: rungaroon / 123rf stock photo (licensee)
According to the most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a large percentage of breaches were from malware, phishing, denial of service and point of sale intrusion.
"This is terrifying news!"
It's easy for small business owners to get baffled by industry technobabble, so I thought that I'd give you a simple guide on how to protect your business and secure your sensitive data.
Here are 10 key small business security measures you really need:
Establish strong passwords
Implementing strong passwords is the easiest thing you can do to strengthen your security. Use a combination of capital and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols and make it 8 to 12 characters long. Avoid using any personal data (such as your birthdate), common words spelled backwards and sequences of characters or numbers, or those that are close together on the keyboard.
You should change your password at least every 90 days, or do it more frequently if your data is highly sensitive. Make sure every individual has their own username and password for any login, never just use one shared password.
Put up a strong firewall
In order to have a properly protected network, firewalls are a must. A firewall protects your network by controlling internet traffic coming into and flowing out of your business.
Install antivirus protection
Antivirus and anti-malware software are essentials in your arsenal of online security weapons. Each computer connected to your network needs them and they must be kept up to date. They're the last line of defence should an unwanted attack get through to your network.
Update your programs regularly
Making sure your computer is 'properly patched and updated' is a necessary step towards being fully protected; there's little point in installing all this great software if you're not going to maintain it, right?
Frequently updating your programs keeps you up-to-date on any recent issues or holes that programmers have fixed.
Secure your laptops
Because of their portable nature, laptops are at a higher risk of being lost or stolen than average company desktops are. It's important to take some extra steps to make certain your sensitive data is protected.
Encrypt your laptop. Encryption software changes the way information looks on the hard drive so without the correct password it can't be read. Never leave your laptop or tablet in your car where it's an easy target for thieves. If you must, lock it in your boot.
Secure your mobile phones
Smartphones hold so much data you should consider them almost as valuable as company computers, and they're much more easily lost or stolen. Mobile phones should have:
Scheduling regular backups to an external hard drive, or in the cloud, is a painless way to ensure that all your data is stored safely.
Monitor your network
You can install data-leakage prevention software to look for information coming out of your internal network. It can be configured to look for credit card numbers, pieces of code, or any bits of information relevant to your business indicating a breach.
Be careful what you click on
It's not uncommon for an unsuspecting employee to click on a link or download an attachment that they believe is harmless, only to discover they've been infected with a nasty virus or some destructive malware. Never click on a link that you weren't expecting or you don't know the origination of in an e-mail or IM!
You have to be smart when surfing the Web and take every popup warning box that appears on screen seriously. Understand every new piece of software comes with its own set of security vulnerabilities.
Educate all of your employees
Educating staff about the dangers that are out there is a more efficient strategy than expecting IT security staff to react to end users’ bad decisions. Make sure your employees understand how important your company's data is.
You can imagine that data security is of great importance to all of us at Picaw so we do know what we're talking about. If you're worried about your own network then why not get in touch with me on 0845 287 3622 and let's see how we can help you.
Until next time ...
While working with Volvo in the late 70’s I realised the way forward in international component distribution was computing. I created a company distributing components for several international manufacturers using the 'new' computers of the day. I quickly realised we needed our own programs so started writing distribution software. I grew the company by developing the software until I eventually sold my shares 20 years later, but retaining the rights to the software. I continued developing the software and supplied it to several similar companies where the software is still used today.
During 1999, I was asked by a friend to develop a facility to video the live sea conditions on the south coast accessible on the internet. Working with a Linux software developer I created our first remote video application. The internet boom of 2000 allowed me to develop a commercial application forming the basis of our systems today.