It’s 2018 and the internet is absolutely taking over. From companies to our homes, we have a need to stay connected to the world around us twenty-four hours a day. It’s the norm, now, to be on social media in our personal lives and on the internet all the time in our professional lives. It’s a privilege to live in a time with such access to connectivity and education and it’s amazing to watch the innovation of technological giants as they better their inventions over and over again. Upgrades in technology are an almost daily occurrence, and businesses are obliged to keep up with these innovations if they hope to be a major player in their industry.
Business start-ups the world over are constantly making plans with regard to the budgets when it comes to how much of their business is online. Customers want access to products every hour of the day, and for a business to keep up with such a demand, they have to ensure that they are online and running ecommerce websites. These websites, while fantastic for customers who want to be able to shop around in the wee hours of the morning, are the biggest and most exposed area of a company. Being online is fantastic, let’s not pretend it isn’t – it’s the way to do business these days – but at what cost? Company security should be a priority for every business; it’s why entrepreneurs click on this homepage to ensure that they order the right ID for employees and visitors who enter the building. It’s why they also have codes and alarms on their external offices. However, it doesn’t matter how much security you slap on the outside of your physical business if your internet cloud isn’t protected correctly.
The only problem, then, with the internet, is that it’s so open.
Companies are vulnerable every single time they log into their websites, both from inside their own office walls and especially when they log in from a remote location which may not be secure. The statistics for cybercrime in the US are much too high, and around a third of new businesses fall victim to fraud via their company websites. The impact of these hackings on the small to medium businesses can be huge; with financial losses having a knock-on effect to the people that work there as well as the loss of reputation. When a company is hacked, the data of its customers are compromised, which causes people to lose their trust in you as a business. This then leads to company failure – not ideal. Smaller businesses often struggle with getting the cash together to afford watertight security, which is often a big problem and leads to shoddy protection from cowboy companies that only offer the basics. You have a problem that you need to solve, and that problem is with your security. Below, you’ll find five ways to find a solution to that problem and give you the security that you need.
Understand Your Data. As a business, you need to know exactly what you have on the cloud, on your servers and in your smartphone. Not all data is equal; some is more sensitive than others and understanding exactly what data is more important is vital to a secure system. The data that is higher in risk, such as financial records and customer information, needs to be given the highest security priority. Don’t ignore the data that is lower risk, though. It’s still important to your company and has no business being in the hands of criminals.
Manage Your Passwords. The very core of every single global security policy is the effectiveness of the passwords that you use. They should be case sensitive, they should be random, and they should be changed regularly. Not every employee should have access to your passwords, either. Not sharing every password doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your staff – it just means that you don’t trust them the appropriate amount.
Training Is Key. Every single employee that you have on staff needs to understand your security policies along with why it’s so important. Education does not have to be expensive for your business, as you can provide it yourself or with your HR team. It’s a good idea to refresh this training every six months to a year, even if the people you work with have done the training several times. It doesn’t have to take up much time; just needs you to be vigilant with training everyone in the business from the CEO to the trainees.
Update, Update, Update. When you want a secure business, you need to treat your business security seriously. This means that you have to go with the updates weekly if necessary and don’t ignore them as they pop up. Keeping your security software up to date is the very basic of security measures that you should be taken. Big corporations have settings in their security to patch what they need to as they need to do it. As a small business, you may not need to do this, but you should still update your servers as often as you need.
Remote Workers. Making sure that your network is secure gets much harder when you have people bringing in their own devices or working remotely from home. You need to lock it down with security policies that will mean that your staff will have to refrain from using external and open VPNs and networks. You can’t dictate where people log in, but you can have penalties for those who break the rules and choose to log in from an unsecure device without permission.
Your business security should be one of the most important things on your priority list. The last thing that you want to do is end up hacked, shut down from the inside or the victim of theft. Your business is important and avoiding turning into a statistic has to be important to you.