Small businesses can be particularly vulnerable to cybercrime as they often don’t have the resources to prevent it. Another factor is that many small business owners believe their company is too puny to become a victim. In fact, 48% of businesses think they’re not big enough to be targeted. Your business’s data and intellectual property are still valuable, however, and it’s important to have adequate security measures in place.
Small businesses can fall victim to varying types of fraud, such as occupational fraud committed by employees, or counterfeiting. There’s also the growing constant of cybercrime. A data security breach can not only have a negative financial impact but also be bad for your company’s reputation. With extensive data analysis and increased security measures, it is possible to keep your company safe. Here are twelve security tips to protect your small business.
- Choose a secure hosting service
It’s important to choose the right hosting service online for your website. Your web page needs proper protection. Make sure you go for a reliable web hosting service that is PCI compliant. This will ensure your site’s payment and checkout processes are protected from hackers looking for loopholes to take advantage of.
Free hosting might not be the best option in terms of security. A more reliable service is worth paying for. Check your web hosting service can provide your website with an SSL certificate. This will boost the security of your site and label it as hypertext transfer protocol secure (HTTPS). This certificate protects your site by ensuring all communication between your users’ browsers and your website is encrypted.
- Protect your intellectual property
Your intellectual property needs protection as well. This refers to any inventions, literary or artistic projects, symbols, names, and other products your business has created. Protecting your intellectual property means that other people won’t be able to steal these. Copyright, patents, and trademarks are all examples of intellectual property protection. It’s advisable to work with an intellectual property consultancy firm, who can take care of your intellectual property management for you.
If you think someone has tried to copy and sell your product, find out more about how to remove a counterfeit from ebay. It’s a more common problem than you might think and you can report any fakes you find online. Often sellers use sites like Ebay as they seem less official and it’s easier to hide, but this as still an infringement of copyright laws.
- Use email best practices
According to studies, only around 50% of email content is legitimate, the rest is spam, so it’s important to email best practices in place. Hold a meeting about how to stay protected from these spam emails such as ransomware and phishing campaigns. Ensure your employees know the risk of giving out their private data.
Encourage your team not to sign up for mailing lists or strange websites with their business email address. Explain to them not to open any unfamiliar links, especially if they’re asking for private information. Invest in some antispam software as well.
You can also change the privacy settings on your emails to notify you if your email is hacked. Prevent hackers from auto-forwarding your email. If a security breach enables access to your email, any perpetrators will be to forward the user email to an outside domain and steal private data. Stop this from happening by creating a mail flow rule. This blocks your emails from being forwarded to random, suspicious domains.
- Protect your devices with face, voice or fingerprint recognition
Newer devices can be set up to ask for voice and face recognition. It might be a good idea to set up these to ensure that you are the only one who can open them. Smaller devices are often set up with fingerprint recognition as well. Configure all your devices to the same security settings, so that you can feel safe on all your equipment.
- Update your software
Often you’ll find that over time your software will become incompatible with particular add-ons and web formats, so update your software and operating system whenever you have a notification to do it. Older operating systems will not be supported by virus protection software, and are much less secure in general, which also makes them more problematic to use.
It’s a good idea to keep all your devices and hardware up to date as well. Newer models will be more compatible with software updates and are automatically protected by more advanced security software. Read more here for essential tech security advice.
- Keep your network secure
Ensure your WiFi network is secure. If you have a “guest” network set up you should regularly change the password, as you’ll be giving it out often to clients and visitors. Be careful when using public networks and avoid sharing sensitive data. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) as an extra precaution.
A VPN has a higher encryption level which maintains security while you send data online. You can have more peace of mind knowing that you’ll have internet freedom but with privacy and confidentiality at the same time. Any data you send will be encrypted.
- Avoid unknown links
If a link looks dodgy to you, it’s best not to click on it. Be careful clicking on ads that appear on your screen, and don’t share data with unfamiliar websites. Educate your employees on cybersecurity as well and ensure they can tell the difference between secure links and spam.
The same goes for emails so don’t open any from an unknown sender. Often they even have your name, but always ignore, especially if they ask for any personal information. Sometimes you might receive emails saying that somebody has already hacked your personal information, or worse, blackmailing you claiming to know your password. Ignore these as well as they are spam.
- Use strong passwords
Always use a strong password when setting up a new account on anything with personal or work information. Make it difficult to guess using a variety of characters ie, capital letters, numbers, or symbols. Think about replacing certain letters in a word with a number for example “3” instead of “e”. It’s best not to use family information such as birthdays and names. Vary your password on different accounts, don’t always use the same one. If you have difficulty remembering them, write them down using pen and paper. Encourage your employees as well, that it’s better to always sign out and back into everything rather than saving your passwords online or on your devices. Never save your bank card details online on any website.
- Carry out risk assessments
It’s always a good idea to carry out a risk assessment for the likelihood of fraud situations, both internal and external. Be sure to do background checks on all your employees and use data analysis to help you outline any other potential risks. Have a risk assessment for fraud drawn up for you. Commonly acts of fraud are committed by an employee teaming up with a third party realizing the misappropriation of assets, which can be easier due to their access to payroll and inventory. It’s vital to thoroughly analyze these risks and their potential damage and take precautions very seriously.
- Control accessibility
Be careful and vigilant at work and restrict the accessibility of your employees. You can set up security measures such as passcodes to prevent whoever you want from accessing certain documents and information. You might also want to consider controlling and monitoring your employees’ internet access as a safety precaution as well.
- Invest in data analytics tools
Security analytics is the process of using collected data for security monitoring and detecting threats. Analytical tools are much more able to cope with “big data” and can efficiently find links between user information, transaction history, and many other factors that might affect your security.
Analytics software can help you to record and make connections between millions of data at a time. This tool can be used in several departments. Have a look at some of the top analytical tools for your company.
- Put a disaster recovery plan in place
Cloud backup providers are part of your disaster recovery plan. Disaster recovery can streamline IT processes, and reduce the risk of human error, or hardware issues. Your data is protected by private encryption keys and only accessible to you. You can, therefore, have peace of mind in that when you have a defined plan in place, you can work more productively knowing that your efforts won’t be wasted. Disaster recovery services allow your business to remain prepared for the unfortunate, and you can rest assured that your data recovery will be handled securely.
Protecting your company from potential security threats is crucial to your business. If you suffer from fraud or a data breach this could cost you a lot of time and money. With a few best practices, you can ensure the protection of your business.