The vast majority of businesses these days rely on computer technology. The big problem is, whether you are running a large in-house server or just using a web host, you may be open to security issues. It is vital that you keep your IT systems in lockdown at all times, as the consequences of not doing so can be disastrous.
You only need to look at companies such as Ashley Madison and Sony to see the negative impact it can have on your business. It’s important to remember IT security isn’t just a problem for big corporate entities, either. In fact, as a small business owner, you are more likely to be a target for data thieves and hackers.
You are a target, whether you like it or not. And, if a top hacker tries to get into your system, there will be little you can do. The good news is that these incidents are rare, and big name hackers will rarely target small businesses as they have eyes on a bigger prize. But, less able hackers and data thieves are a significant threat. And, without the right security in place, your systems run the risk of losing everything.
Data breaches can be damaging in a broad variety of ways. You could lose customer data, for example, and leave them open to identity theft – or worse. There are significant issues if you work in a private industry like healthcare or the law, too. It will be a big embarrassment for you to get caught up in a data breach – and your business may not ever recover. Here are some tips that will help you employ the right methods of IT security.
Software and system updates aren’t just there to give you cool extra features. They are also there to give you protection against the latest malware and viruses. Make sure you are keeping everything in your IT systems up to date, whether it’s a phone operating system or a large server. Yes, it takes time – and a lot of attention to keep on top of things. But, given the many incidents of data breaches occur through outdated systems, you would be wise to keep on top of everything.
Of course, secure systems cost money. But, see it as an insurance policy if – as they inevitably will – go wrong. Concentrate on getting the right security service for your network. Also, spend time training your staff properly. In fact, given that many safety issues arise from human error, it’s worth investing a lot of time and money into training employees. A click on a dodgy Facebook link, or an automatic download from an email – they all contribute to causing significant problems. Make sure your staff are aware of their responsibilities. Once they get into the habit, being safe online will be as natural as turning the lights out when they leave the building.
Rigorous testing is an excellent way to ensure your systems are robust enough to cope with hacking and malware. Put a plan in place and assign testing roles to staff – in the IT department, perhaps. You could even send them on a hacking course, which will teach them the best ways of testing your system. There’s an excellent guide to the benefits of hacking course that we sourced from Simplilearn. And, there are plenty of other courses out there to try. If you want to know your enemy, it’s important to know how they think.
Make sure you have a robust IT and online security policy, too. As a small business, it is vital to get buy-in and understanding from all your staff members – perhaps more so than a bigger business. Because of the variety of tasks people will do for you, it means more exposure to potential problems. And, without strong guidelines to follow, there is every chance someone will make a mistake. If everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet, you will see a more secure business.
Encryption is the term for making all your data unreadable to anyone who isn’t you. And, in many cases, hackers will end up disappointed, even if they do break into your system. That’s not to say that encryption is the perfect solution, as all it takes is access to the encryption key. However, it does make it harder for the vast majority of data thieves out there. It’s an essential line of defense for your business, so make sure you are encrypting all your data and information.
Data breaches don’t always come from outside your business. An employee could steal valuable information and sell it on to a third-party. And, security breaches can also occur from lapses in offline security, too. A door open here and an easy access window there can all be appealing to the right person. So, it is essential that you take internal and real world security just as importantly as you do with your IT. There is little point investing a fortune in IT security if people can just pop in from the outside and potter around your offices. Robust policies must be in place with regards to all security matters – or you will find out the consequences.
Mobile devices have been great for all types of businesses from any industry, But, they also cause enormous problems. While your workers, are out and about, accessing your systems remotely, they are open to a lot more threats than they are in the office. Smartphones, laptops, tablets – many businesses allow staff to use their own devices. And, without rigorous security, there is every chance of losing critical data or bringing in viruses and malware.
So, there you have it – as you can see, there are plenty of different ways to improve your small business IT security. We would love to hear from you if you have ever experienced any safety issues with your company. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below, and feel free to share any tips. Be safe out there, folks!