Security has become a major concern for businesses of all sizes, and no firm is too small to be affected. While some business owners still think that cyber-attacks primarily target large multinationals that is increasingly not the case.
These days, increasing numbers of small businesses are the targets of ransomware attacks and other online hacking attempts, and no business owner can afford to take their security procedures lightly. Ransomware, in particular, could have a devastating impact on small business, holding files hostage and forcing business owners to pay out money they may not have to spare.
As with anything security related, the best defense is a good offense. Taking some proactive steps now could protect your small business from a devastating attack later, and here are some practical tips you can use to get started.
- Make security training a priority. It is easy to put your company’s safety on the back burner when training new employees, but that is a big mistake. Putting security front and center in all training scenarios is essential, so make it a priority.
- Create a smart password policy. It is important to strike the right balance between too much complexity and too little. Short and straightforward passwords are a major security risk, but making the passwords too complex could result in employees writing them down and posting them on their computers.
- Lock down the wi-fi network and share it selectively. Providing guest access to the wi-fi network is convenient, but allowing just anyone to hop on could put your business data at risk.
- Set up a separate guest network if you plan to provide more extensive wi-fi access. Establishing a guest wi-fi network distinct from the company LAN is a smart way to balance convenience and security.
- Change the password on your main Wi-Fi network regularly. Static passwords are a big security risk, so modify the credentials regularly.
- Provide the least possible amount of access. The principle of least access is a critical one for business owners, so set your policy accordingly. Employees should have access to the files they need to do their jobs and nothing else.
- Be smart about hiring. Insider risks are significant but often underappreciated, so be careful when hiring, especially for IT staff and other key positions.
Consider outsourcing network security
There are distinct advantages to outsourced network security, including faster response times and more focused expertise.
- Run regular intrusion tests on your network. You cannot know for sure that your system is secure until you hire someone to break in. Conducting regular tests is a critical part of any small business security protocol.
- Set, and stick to, a robust backup plan. Having valid backups of all your files is the best defense against ransomware, so set a backup schedule and stick to it.
- Test your backups on a regular basis. Many business owners think they have a backup plan in place, only to find out that the backups they have been making are corrupted or unreadable. Doing test restores of critical files is essential, and something you should be doing on a regular basis.
- More and more companies as of late are choosing to use WordPress CMS for their business website and one thing that gets ignored the most is the security of outdated themes and plugins. Luckily for DDoS and similar attacks, WordPress has a good selection of trustworthy security plugins, so as long as you’ll have the right plugins installed and keep updating them, the website and data will stay protected.
- Pay attention to offline risks as well. It is easy to get so caught up with network security that you lose sight of the offline risks. Be sure to shred your confidential files and dispose of hard drives and other computer equipment properly.
Security is an essential function for any small business owner, and no firm can afford to ignore its implications. If you do not have a security plan in place, you are just asking for trouble, and creating such a plan is not as difficult as you might think. The tips listed above can help you get started so that you can protect your network data and the integrity of your business.