Your business is only as secure as the data you hold. If you are hacked it can lead to loss of personal and financial data for you or your clients; disruption to your website; or worst case scenario financial loss.
It is imperative therefore that you put multiple systems in place to protect your network, website, data and communication systems. By implementing the following steps you can drastically increase your level of security.
A firewall should be your first line of defence. This will prevent the majority of malicious software and hacking attempts ever making it through to your network. However, some malware will still make an appearance and therefore you need to install anti-virus software as an extra level of security. This will flag any unwanted malware and quarantine it so it can be easily removed. Your anti-virus software updates and scans should be set to run automatically to avoid human error.
Passwords are another link in this chain and staff should be prompted to update their passwords frequently and to choose lengthy ones which comprise a mix of letters, numbers and special characters. Phishing is another method by which hackers try to access information so inform staff never to click on links they are unsure of or download attachments in emails from unknown sources.
When you are considering the security of your banking details you should put extra levels of protection in place with your bank, so they will always call a member of your team before any large transfers are made. This means that even if your banking details were stolen you are putting in an additional security measure to prevent fraud.
Protecting Your Communication Systems
The advent of VoIP has given us many more ways to communicate, from voice and video calls through to instant messaging, online chat and screen share. Calls however, whether through landlines or over the internet, can be listened in on so it is vital to use encryption where possible.
Encryption is also important for data held in the cloud. You have less control over the security of infrastructure at data centres than you do of your own network and therefore knowing the data itself is encrypted gives you another level of protection.
The security of your website also needs consideration as attempts to disrupt websites or to steal data from them are becoming ever more frequent. Ensure your web manager encrypts any sensitive data collected from clients, including payment details and address information. In addition, your website should sit behind a firewall and be scanned regularly for malware. Security applications, frequent software updates and tight access controls are also important.
If your company data is stolen, your website is hacked or you lose access to your network your business could in theory be out of action for days and you stand to lose a substantial amount of revenue in that period. It is a good idea to have a professional security audit of your business done to highlight any areas of concern and then take steps to negate the risks. However, no security is completely fool proof and you should still plan for the unexpected.
A disaster recovery plan is a necessary part of any business. Not only does it get you thinking about where your company is potentially exposed but it could have you back up and running within a day should the worst happen. This might mean the difference between your company surviving or going out of business after a severe cyber-attack and therefore it is worth the time and resources you spend on it now.
With any form of security, prevention is better than cure, so take as many steps as you can to protect your data. Not only is this good for your business and employees but it is also reassuring for the vendors and clients with whom you work.
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