Cyber attacks are on the rise and small businesses are their number one target. Unlike big corporations, your small business may lack the time and resources necessary to come up with complicated IT security plans. And with new technology coming out every day, it can be a daunting task to keep your business and your customers safe. We’ve put together these easy strategies to show you how to strengthen your business information security.
Train Your Team
Having a well-informed team is your best defense against cyber attacks. As a service-based business, you are handling both your company’s and your customers’ sensitive information. Make time each quarter to go over common scam tactics, how to spot suspicious emails, and how and when you should share sensitive information.
Use Strong Passwords
Having a complex password is key to keeping hackers out. The more complicated the password and the more frequently you change it, the safer your information. Don’t use common phrases or number strings like “123”. Don’t reuse passwords across multiple websites and accounts. Use a mix of upper and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers.
Try a Password Manager
As a service-based business, you utilize many different programs and websites to keep your business running. Instead of writing down each one, use a password manager to store the passwords to all of your apps in one digital database. These programs use powerful algorithms to encrypt your passwords and can even generate lengthy, unique passwords for added defense.
Turn on Multi-Factor Authentication
Want to take your login protection game to the next level? Many apps and websites now give you the option to add an extra layer of security. By turning on multi-factor authentication, an app will require you to verify your identity through text, phone, or email in addition to your password. Strengthen your business information security by making sure this feature is turned on for all of your important logins.
Lockup Your Hardware
Many service-based businesses use handheld electronics to run their business, like laptops, tablets, and point-of-sale devices. Apps installed on these devices often contain sensitive data you don’t want falling into the wrong hands. Password-protect your devices and consider downloading encryption software to further safeguard your information.
Lockdown Your Tech
Strengthen your business information security by making sure your devices are properly guarded. If you use WiFi, make sure the network is password protected and hidden to outside users. Set up a firewall on all computers to prevent anyone from gaining access to the data on your private network. Keep all antivirus software current through routine updates.
Separate Work and Play
When you see an urgent email come through after hours, it’s hard as a small business owner not to jump to put out the fire as soon as possible. Logging into your client portal apps or your business bank account on your personal device opens you up to some big trouble if your device is compromised, lost, or stolen. Keep your business on your secured business devices only.
Control Access to Your Data
An important internal control for all businesses is the segregation of duties. This concept prevents instances of fraud and misuse of company resources. Limit employee access to critical business data that is not essential for their job. Ensure all employees have individual logins to company software to maintain control over access and strengthen your business information security.
Backup Important Data
Once a hacker has access to your data, a common cyber scam is to hold that valuable information ransom in exchange for a sum of money. Backing up your important files frequently and securely is a great way to avoid that pitfall. Essential information to backup for service-based businesses includes spreadsheets, customer contact information, financial documents, and employee data. Be sure to keep your backed up information on a separate server from your day-to-day business.
Purge Unneeded Data
Minimizing the amount of data you are holding onto minimizes the amount of potential damage that can occur in the event of a cyberattack. One way to do this is to implement a thorough record retention policy. Routinely delete sensitive documents you no longer need, like old client bank accounts and past employee social security numbers. For more tips on how to set up an effective retention policy, check out our blog post 4 Factors to Consider When Establishing Your Record Retention.
It’s 2022 and you do the majority of your work online but you keep your backup files on physical paper in your filing cabinet. In the event of a flood, fire, or theft, you’ve lost out on years of important data. Invest in a quick scanner and cloud-based storage software to digitize your files. Many cloud-based storage apps offer data recovery services, too, that are a great way to strengthen your business information security in the event of an accidental lost file or malware infection.
Still not sure where to start? Schedule a one-on-one consultation with us today to find out how we can help you learn how to strengthen your business information security.