With the increased dependency of businesses on the internet and online services, the vulnerability to cyber-crime is also increased. Hackers and online criminals are finding more innovative ways to steal data, scam and even hold information hostage from businesses in order to get a quick payout.
As a small business that operates using online services and stores data on the cloud it is essential to have measures in place in order to protect your business. If you become a victim of cyber-crime it can negatively impact your day to day operations, destroy your brand reputation while also affecting your bottom line in addition to other losses that could be incurred.
Discussed below are some useful security tips to protect your business and its data from online criminals:
- Accept your business is a potential target: No matter the size and scale of your business you can still be a target for cyber-crime. Small business owners can sometimes dismiss the risks since their business does not deal with extremely sensitive data or thinking there’s no value in attacking your business hence it won’t happen. A large majority of business large and small become victims to cyber-crime each year, and most of these attacks could have been mitigated or prevented if the business had taken the right precautionary measures.
- Protect the hardware: The first step is to protect all the hardware used at your business. So this includes all office or retail computers and tablets. Purchase quality cyber-security software that has virus and malware protection as well as software that protects against spyware and ransomware. Your computer systems will be only as strong as your weakest link, so ensure that software is kept up to date and all machines have them in place.
- Secure your organization’s networks: The next thing to look at would be both your internal and external networks. A key aspect of a good cyber-security strategy is to prevent unauthorized access to your networks and data. Depending on the type of business you are running this can include a range of precautionary actions such as disabling access from external networks, encrypting your wireless access point, using a firewall and performing regular checks and scans of your network for suspicious activity. Some of these measures may work for your business and some may not be suitable. It’s important to discuss these with your network support team to ensure what can be done.
- Invest in backup and recovery: If after all the preventive measures put in place fail and suppose your business does become a victim to cyber-crime, being able to restore your networks, systems and data quickly is vital. In order to be able to do this, it is essential that you invest in a good backup and disaster recovery system. This can help minimize the downtime of your services while ensuring that your business can quickly get things back up and running with minimal loss.
- Have a cyber-security policy and strategy in place: It is absolutely essential that you have carefully planned cyber-security policy and strategy in place. All the employees within the organization need to know what they have to do in order to reduce vulnerabilities. This includes policies about use of devices, networks, data, email, passwords and even working from home.