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Small businesses are equally as vulnerable to a cyber-attack as large companies. According to “Small Business Computing,” 70 percent of data breaches happen to small businesses.
The good news is that the majority of those breaches can be thwarted by employing simple digital security practices. The types of data you need to protect include customer and employee personal information, financial data, and any proprietary information your business relies on to stay competitive.
Keep your business out of the headlines and your sensitive data protected with these essential digital security strategies.
Don’t leave security up to IT.
It’s tempting to rely solely on your IT team to establish and maintain your digital security. However, security is best when everyone is involved, so have it extend past the IT department. Create a digital security handbook and conduct training with all current and new employees. Have regular refresher courses throughout the year to keep digital security on everyone’s mind.
Take passwords seriously.
Sometimes passwords feel like the bane of our existence, but you need them. Establish a password protocol that requires employees to use passwords that are between nine and 12 characters, consisting of a combination of numbers, upper and lower case letters, and special characters. Require passwords to be changed regularly. When associates leave the company, consider changing the password protocol for extra-sensitive data.
Back up your data.
The best way to preserve the integrity of your data in the event of a breach is to have reliable, current backups available. Cloud storage options make it easy to regularly back up data and store it securely. Apply the same rigorous protections to Cloud storage as you do to individual computers and servers.
Secure your wireless connection.
You need more than a sophisticated password to protect your company, customers, and employees over your wireless network. Isolate Wi-Fi networks from the rest of your network, especially those set up for guests. Employ protections that monitor wireless traffic and enforce encryption protocols. Also, make sure your team sets up wireless routers to encrypt data as it travels in and out of your network.
Lock down your email.
The majority of successful cyber-attacks start with an email. Employees invite hackers in when they open attachments or click on tainted links. Disable automatic previews, scan all emails with anti-virus software, and train employees to never trust an attachment from an unknown name from outside the organization. Make sure everyone knows not to respond to email requests for company or personal account information.
Beef up your firewall protection.
Standard firewalls only monitor traffic coming into your network. To protect data leaving your network (customer addresses, credit card numbers) you need to move beyond a basic firewall. Cloud-based Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are designed to monitor both incoming and outgoing data, and can be set to look for user identity, intended application, and the source of all incoming traffic.
Use common sense.
Some of the best security measures you can use don’t require fancy software or multi-layer firewalls. Don’t overlook physical access to computers and data; keep computers and servers locked. Try to avoid having employees take company laptops home, if possible, or make certain things only available on the network in the office. When people step away from their computer, make sure they lock it. Educate members of the office about the dangers of social media. Make sure they don’t inadvertently post information online that can peak a hacker’s attention.
Whatever the size of your business, it’s worth protecting. See how Frontier Business Edge can help with your security today.