November 5, 2015
Smart business owners are responsible. And that means making sure that all operations run smoothly, and limiting risks. Sadly, most small business owners default in these vital areas, and it’s a shame.
A 2012 digital security survey by Symantec revealed that 83 percent of small businesses operated without having a formal cyber security plan in place. About 69 percent of the businesses surveyed didn’t even have an informal plan in place, even though they used the Internet for their daily operations.
Why does this happen? My guess: most companies believe that hacking, data breaches, lawsuits and other privacy problems are isolated cases. But they’re wrong. And it’s often too late when they discover they were wrong.
You don’t have to suffer the same fate; be on guard – it’s better to be safe than sorry. There are several proactive ways you can protect your online business against such accidents, and to recover if the damage has already been done.
1. Use Good Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Software
Malware is used in most data breaches to secretly capture login information and keystrokes. It can be planted by hackers onto a computer through suspicious emails, spammy websites or unsecure Wi-Fi connections.
Don’t open suspicious emails and avoid clicking on odd links. But most importantly install and regularly update good anti-malware and anti-virus software.
2. Secure Your Wi-Fi network
Many times, hackers engage in wardriving. This is scanning an area until they find an unsecure Wi-Fi network from which they can steal account information and sensitive personal data. So make sure you use very strong passwords on your wireless networks and change the password often. You can also use a powerful virtual private network (VPN) like NordVPN or CyberGhost VPN to create an encrypted connection to the internet. Deactivating the SSID broadcasting function on your router in order to hide your network, is also a good way to remain secure.
3. Secure Your Company’s Hardware
It is good practice to use tracking software on your company’s hardware such as computers, tablets, and smartphones. That not only ensures you can keep track of where each one of them is at all times, but also allows you to remotely and securely retrieve (or even wipe off) vital data from them if they get stolen or compromised.
Also consider securing other bigger hardware of your company with Kensington locks, rack-mounts, and locked rooms.
4. Insure Your Business
However careful you are, there are still some chances of having a disaster hit your business. So it makes sense to get liability insurance for your business beforehand. This protects you against unfortunate events caused by errors or omissions that sometime happen in the workplace. You can even take the protection further by getting an umbrella insurance policy.
5. Hire Experts for Technical Issues
There are many aspects in which your business needs protection and you’re not an expert at these issues. Do you know much about protecting your data against cyber attacks, keeping your legal obligations with regards to your contracts, employee welfare, clients’ privacy and data handling, copyright, etc.?
I bet you don’t. So consider hiring a team of experts to take care of these issues: a security engineer to protect you against spammers, hackers, and malware; a good lawyer to handle your legal matters and papers; an accountant to handle your money papers like invoices, mortgage repayments, utility bills, etc.
Hiring these experts will cost you quite a bit but the peace of mind you’ll get and the security of your business make it worthwhile.
Disaster is part and parcel of business and sometimes hits even the most cautious businessmen. However, there are many proactive ways a smart business person can protect themselves against.
The risks of having a security breach at your business is even greater online. So if you’re doing business wholly or partly online, use these practical ways to stay safe and ensure a smooth running of your business.
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