While it is true that more and more businesses are rapidly migrating into the digital world, the downside of this idea is that it will now be exposed to cyber-attacks, as well. However, improving the cybersecurity of your company is not nearly as difficult or unreliable as you may believe it to be, seeing as how there are so many tools you can turn to and behaviors you can adopt. Nonetheless, you need to keep in mind that unlike investing in a new lock or buying a brand new safe, keeping your business secure online is a never-ending process. With this in mind and without further ado, here are a few tips that can help keep your small business safe online.
1. Change your password policy
Even with the best safety measures, your company’s security will be seriously endangered if your password is too weak. The first thing to avoid in choosing a password are names of people, events and meaningful items from personal life. Pet names, dates of birth or nicknames of your children also make for incredibly weak passwords. This is mostly due to the fact that they are easy to crack by anyone who knows the first thing about you or simply has you as a friend on Facebook (one more reason not to accept requests from strangers).
Another mistake you need to avoid is using the same password for all your platforms. Sure, this can make it much easier to memorize but if you lose your password, your entire online identity will be compromised. In other words, a single 8-characters long phrase can be enough to run your business into the ground.
Finally, you need to encourage your clients to adhere to these same rules. In fact, you should even prevent registrations until they come up with a password that is, at least, 8 characters and contains both letters (uppercase and lowercase) and a number. The fact that they lost their money or that data was lost due to a weak password won’t prevent your clients from holding your business responsible. Therefore, it is better to minimize the chances of this happening while you still can.
2. White hat hacking
As the famous Prussian general Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once said: “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy”. In other words, you can never know just how ironclad your security perimeter actually is until you find someone to field-test it. This is why some cybersecurity companies offer IT pen testing services, which are basically authorized hack attempts designed to check how your safety measures behave in practice. In other words, you are simulating a real hacking attack in a controlled environment and without any actual risk to your business.
3. Look inwards
Sometimes, the greatest problem in protecting your company lies in focusing on the wrong threat. Malicious hackers, competitors or even clients looking to exploit the system are not the only security hazards out there. The issue of in-house theft is as alive today as it ever was and getting ahead of it is definitely not an easy job.
Moreover, the problems with your internal security don’t really have to stem from some malicious intent. All that it takes is a member of your team to blurt out something confidential in front of the wrong person. The best way to avoid this potential problem is to simply appoint the access on a strict need-to-know basis to different members of your team. Therefore, you can give the sensitive information only to the people at the very top and give the rest of your employees access to only those files and resources that are necessary for their day-to-day work.
4. Get the right tools
Finally, you need to think about getting the right safety tools to protect your business. Here, you have plenty of options and by going with a brand such as Kaspersky, McAfee or Webroot, you simply cannot go wrong. There are two more things you should keep in mind here. First, all of these tools have free versions but this is probably not the place to try and save some money. Second, you need to make sure they are always up to date, which is, fortunately, an automatic process most of the time.
With these four simple tips, you can easily put your business ahead of the curve and protect it against most online threats. Still, as we mentioned in the introduction, your work is never truly done. By educating yourself on this topic and learning more about issues like spam, scams and phishing, you can not only elevate the overall safety of your business but adopt habits that will benefit you in your personal life, as well. Later on, you can pass on some of this knowledge to your employees and in this way, turn your business and your brand into a truly unbreakable online fortress.