The Internet is a great tool for helping small businesses to expand. After all, it allows them to establish an online presence while attracting new customers and building a reputation in the process. While the Internet is a fine tool for promotional purposes, it also attracts hackers who may steal digital information and commit fraud. Unfortunately, these security breaches are not uncommon. Credit card information and passwords can be stolen, which can damage a business’ reputation and cause surmountable financial situation issues.
Here are 10 things you can do to protect your business from possible attacks so that all of your confidential data is kept safe and secure.
Protect Your Data as Well as You Can
This means keeping your computer clean, deleting unnecessary files every now and then, having the latest version of your antivirus installed, and using safe web browsers and operating systems. These are just a few preemptive measures you can take to increase digital safety within your company. In addition, it is advisable to run regular antivirus scans to identify any malware that may be already present.
Educate Your Staff
Your staff might not be familiar with the risk of a security attack. They might not be into technical or IT-related matters so it’s best to educate them so they are well prepared in case something goes wrong. This can be as simple as requiring that they use strong passwords and establishing certain rules of conduct that describe how they should protect customer information and other types of important data. Employees can also be trained to run regular antivirus scans to make sure the computers they use are kept free of malware.
Install Firewalls on Your Computers
Most operating systems have a firewall already built in. To increase the safety of your business’s data, make sure the firewall is always turned on. If you are suspicious about its ability to keep hackers away, you can also try installing more robust firewall software.
Back Up Your Business Data Regularly
Back up your data and store it on an external device or better still, in the cloud. This includes documents containing passwords, databases, spreadsheets with customer information, accounting-related documents, and financial files. Backing up your data within a single computer is not advisable since if an unauthorized person gains access to it, the data will not be protected. As such, it’s a good idea to store everything on an external hard drive or in the cloud.
Mind Your Mobile Device’s Security
If you store confidential information on your mobile device, install an application on your cell phone that will allow you to locate your device in the event it’s ever lost or stolen. These apps usually allow you to log into your account from a PC and lock the phone so it cannot be used until you locate the phone and manually unlock it yourself. You can can password-protect the device and encrypt the data, although it’s important to note that the absolute best security measure you can take is to not store sensitive data on your cell phone in the first place.
Keep Your Wi-Fi Network Secure
Chances are you can log onto the Internet via a Wi-Fi network. If that is the case, it is imperative that you keep it encrypted, hidden and secure. It’s advisable not to allow anyone but the people within your company to join your Wi-Fi network. For this purpose, you should password-protect it so that only people who possess knowledge of these passwords can join.
Keep Employee Accounts Separate
If you create a separate user account for every employee, you will make it exponentially harder for unauthorized individuals to use or access your business’s computers. Every employee should have a different username and password. Administrative privileges should only be granted to management of and trusted IT staff.
Keep Payment Card Data Protection in Mind
If you own a small business, chances are you work with payment processors or banks that allow for the electronic management of your finances. Only use validated and trustworthy tools that are secure so you can rest easy knowing that your financial information is safe. If you log into a payment system from a web browser, make sure to delete your browsing and cookie history after you log out. And under no circumstances should you ever store your username and password combinations.
Passwords and Authentication
Many IT experts recommend that employee passwords be changed quarterly, and for good reason. This ensures that if an employee is terminated or someone is careless and loses a password, your business is better safeguarded against potential security breaches. Multifactor authentication is equally handy since it ensures that every login is completely unique.
Limit Employee Access to Confidential Information
Each employee should only have access to the data needed to perform their job. There is no need for each employee to have access to all data systems. Doing so is a surefire way of ensuring that sensitive data doesn’t stay confidential for long.
The ugly truth is that the Internet is a dangerous place. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil in the business world. The best thing you can do to protect your business is to take pre-emptive measures to sure up your systems and train your employees on proper security protocols. While nothing is fail-proof, doing so will greatly reduce the likelihood of confidential data landing in the hands of the wrong person.
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