- By Stephanie Haywood
Cyber security has become more important than ever to small business owners as they realize the importance of keeping customer data protected, but some entrepreneurs still aren’t sure of where to start. Many take the first step by investing in secure software, but either they don’t understand what kind they need or don’t realize that updates are necessary, rendering it useless. In today’s world, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest technology so you can remain one step ahead of the hackers and thieves who want access not only to your data but your customers’. You’ll also need to make sure your employees have all the tools and training they need to create a safe, professional environment. Internal Comms Pro offers a variety of resources for businesses that want to make internal communication a priority.
Do your research
Sometimes the best practices for cyber security stem from simply being prepared, so it’s important to do some reading and learn all you can about the latest scams and how hackers gain access to businesses. Read up on your security options, since there are many varieties and not all of them will make sense for your needs. Having a recovery plan is also essential, just in case your efforts are thwarted and data is stolen. The most effective plan will help you identify which applications need to be recovered first and who will be involved in the process, as well as create timelines for each step. Timeliness is key when it comes to cyberattacks. You’ll also need to have a plan in place for rebuilding your relationship with the affected customers.
Tighten up your passwords
All businesses have some type of information that’s sensitive, whether it’s connected to their bank account or their customers. Having the right recovery plan in place is crucial, but don’t underestimate the power of a long, complicated password when it comes to protection; while it may be more time-consuming to enter in than a short word, it can go a long way toward keeping your info safe. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols if possible, and stay away from words or dates that have personal meaning (such as a birthday), as these can be found on social media pages. Make sure that employees who have access to business-related passwords understand the importance of keeping them safe, and change them up every month or so for an extra layer of protection.
Protecting info while it’s active is just one consideration you’ll need to make; it’s also important to keep it safe even after you no longer need it. Whether your customer has moved on, you’re upgrading your computers, or you have physical paperwork with customer information on it, you’ll need to destroy anything that’s sensitive. Use a quality paper shredder, destroy outdated hard drives, and update your files to reflect the changes.
Train your employees well
Whether it’s about protecting passwords or destroying data, you may think that some measures are common knowledge for your employees, but many simple security tasks go overlooked in small businesses because it just doesn’t occur to someone that they may be a target; for instance, leaving computer programs open in view of the customers could provide an easy opening for anyone who wanted to gain access to private info. It’s also important to set some rules for the use of company devices, such as only using a designated, secure network and signing the devices in and out so there’s a log of every person who has used them. If you have remote workers, learn more about the potential security risks that factor into their daily work.
Planning for cybersecurity is so important, but if you feel you’re in over your head, don’t hesitate to consult IT professionals who can help you set up the right software and create a course of action to keep things protected.
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