No matter the size of the business, protection is an increasingly difficult challenge. The consequences of external attacks, internal security breaches, and internet abuse have placed internet security high on the agenda for many organisations. What can you do to keep your business safe?
1.Understand: You’re Not Safe Unless You’re Protected
One of the big reasons why businesses fall prey to scammers, hackers, and other cyber criminals is simply that they fail to understand the danger of leaving sensitive data and processes unprotected.
In particular, small businesses are highly vulnerable. This is partly because small business-owners tend to believe the business is too small to be an attractive target. But, it’s also because small businesses just don’t have the budget to invest in cyber security. As a result, they’re highly attractive targets.
Improving your security doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. By investing in third-party security services, even small businesses can obtain the protection they need to keep sensitive data safe from cyber attacks.
2. Only Collect the Data You Need
If your organisation collects and stores valuable information, you’re much more likely to become a target. For instance, rather than collecting personal information such as names and email addresses, use an ID and password login for a retail or other website.
3. Protect All the Data You Collect
Whatever data you obtain from customers and employees, make sure to take all reasonable steps to protect it. That includes, but may not be limited to, whatever data is protected under the GDPR. Sensitive data should be encrypted, and should never be sent via email or the internet in its unencrypted form.
Make sure your organisation is aware of all the different types of data that are collected, and where and how data is obtained. Larger organisations may collect data in multiple different ways—for instance, from existing and potential customers and clients, email subscribers, website users, trade show and exhibition attendees, or competition entrants.
4. Back-Up Your Data
These days, cyber criminals aren’t only concerned with stealing data. Another popular strategy is to, essentially, hold it hostage, by taking control of a computer system and encrypting or deleting the data it holds. To protect against these kinds of attacks—and data loss that might occur due to file corruption or a natural disaster—it’s important to make sure data is backed up on a regular basis.
5. Develop Robust Data and Privacy Policies
This encompasses two issues: the security of data submitted by people outside the organisation, and policies in place within it to protect that data.
For employees within the organisation, a similarly straightforward security policy should be provided, including guidelines on setting passwords, proper usage of company hardware, and other important details.
6. Keep Your Tech Up-to-Date
Whatever software, hardware, security system, and other tools and apps your organisation uses, keeping it all updated should be a high priority. Make sure all your software is set to automatically update, to make sure it’s defended to the best of the vendors’ ability. Updated software is one of the most important lines of defence against malware and online threats, so this is something you can’t afford to ignore.
7. Don’t Rely on One Single Layer of Security
A firewall alone isn’t enough to keep your data safe, and neither is a spam filter or real-time monitoring. Instead of one single product, adopt a layered approach to data security, by using multiple products to keep it all safe.
8. Make Employee Education a Priority
Do your employees know how to spot an email phishing scam? Do they know how to use the internet safely to avoid picking up viruses, trojans, and other malware? Make sure all employees undergo training to ensure they are able to use email and the internet safely at work.
9. Check all New Devices
Any new device on your organisation’s network is a potential threat, including mobile devices, USB drives, and other forms of physical data storage. Make sure to scan any such device for potential threats before it’s connected to your company network.
10. Don’t Forget About Mobile Risks
Finally, remember that most of your employees are likely to have at least one mobile device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. These devices help improve productivity and flexibility, but if used for work purposes, they may also contain sensitive data. Make sure everyone understands how important it is to keep devices—and the data they contain—password-protected and secure.