10 Cyber Security Tips
No matter what the size of the business, cyber security is a critical issue. A single breach could reveal the personal information of millions of customers, breaking the trust of those individuals and possibly doing irreparable damage to the company and its brand image.
The potential damage can be even worse for small business owners, who may not have the resources or the marketing budget to recover their reputation and rebuild trust with their customers. To make matters even worse, those small businesses probably do not have the money to hire a dedicated IT professional, and that can make data breaches far more likely.
Luckily, there are things small business owners can do to enhance their cyber security and protect the privacy of their customers. Those small business owners may not have the resources to hire an IT team, but they can take some smart steps on their own. Here are some smart cyber security tips every small business owner can use.
- Choose computer terminals without USB drives or use software to disable their use. This will prevent workers from copying confidential files to thumb drives and portable hard drives.
- Block access to public email sites like Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail and the like. Even the inadvertent emailing of company files could put your business at risk.
- Establish a clear cyber security policy and reinforce it daily. Training is an essential part of cyber security and keeping records safe.
- Follow a policy of granting the least possible amount of file access. Workers in each department should have access to their departmental files, and only those files.
- Have your cyber security audited by an outside organization at least once a year. Having a second set of eyes is always helpful.
- Consider outsourcing your IT operations. If your business is very small and you are reasonably tech savvy, you may be able to handle the network resources on your own. But as you grow, hiring an expert to manage your network and secure your files makes a lot of sense
- Make sure that all of your file transfers, including data backups, are fully encrypted. End to end encryption is an essential part of good cyber security
- Establish and enforce a social media policy for your employees. Make sure your employees know that the posting of confidential or proprietary information could have repercussions for their employment and for the company as a whole.
- Keep company software updated and install security patches as they become available. Hiring an IT management firm can make the installation of updates easier and give you one less thing to do.
- Make sure that every network-connected device is protected from spyware, viruses and other forms of malware. Set those protections to update automatically and perform regular threat assessments and scans.
Cyber security has never been more important than it is today. The threats are coming from everywhere, putting unwary companies and their customer data at risk. From organized gangs of criminals and foreign governments to individual hackers, there are lots of bad guys out there. If you own a small business, protecting your firm, your customers and your reputation is your responsibility, and that means taking cyber security seriously.