Having your business connected to the Internet is a necessary evil. On one hand, you need the Internet to grow your business. On the other, your Internet connection acts a virtual “welcome mat” to every cyber criminal lurking in the digital shadows.
So what can you do to protect your digital assets and data? Plenty! To start, here are a few free or low cost steps small businesses can take towards making its cyber defenses strong:
- Install anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall software on all computers, laptops, servers, and devices connected to the Internet. Be sure to keep the software up to date by downloading the latest versions, fixes, and security updates!
- Encrypt your data! It is important that the sensitive files on your hard drive and removable media are encrypted. Some operating systems have an encryption tool built in! There are also many low-cost 3rd party encryption tools available on the market today. You can learn a little bit more about encryption here.
- Have mobile devices protected by passwords, security software, and encryption tools. Use an application or cloud service that allows you to remotely erase data from your lost or stolen mobile device.
- Create and enforce a Password and Account Security policy. Make sure passwords are tough to crack. They should be at least 8 characters long, contain both upper and lower case letters, and use numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same login ID and password for multiple accounts! For example, your Netflix ID should not be the same as the ID you use for online banking.
- Educate employees on your security policies and best practices. Hackers know that your employees are an easy target. Educate your end users on the latest threats, phishing scams, and physical security. Training should also include procedures on what to do if a breach occurs or an employee’s system becomes infected.
While these 5 steps are great start in securing your digital assets, they are just that- simply a start. To truly protect a business, a bank account, customers’ data, etc a business needs to implement a robust Cybersecurity Program.
A good Cybersecurity Program consists of several different Plans, Policies and Procedures. Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the money, time, or expertise needed to develop a program on their own.
What’s the good news? The good news is that there are Cybersecurity Firms, like the folks a My Cybersecurity Department, that are dedicated to providing low cost, easy to maintain solutions for small businesses! So, be sure to follow the 5 steps listed above. And check out MyCybersecurityDepartment.com for more info on how they can help create your business’ Cybersecurity Program!