In a nutshell: Small businesses are frequently targets of hacking. It’s important to keep your information safe, and make sure third-party vendors are doing the same.
For many business owners, cyber hacking or other security breaches are major concerns. And why wouldn’t they be when 50% of all of these attacks target the small business industry? It’s a weight on many owners’ shoulders. Could your business be next?
When your business gets attacked, your customer information, money and business security are all at risk. But even if the fear of having your business compromised keeps you up at night, you don’t have to shoulder all of that worry yourself. There are some things that can be done to help secure your company.
Check In On Third-Party Vendors
Oftentimes, smaller to midsize businesses will work with third-party vendors to either get off the ground or to keep their company going. These third-party vendors can do anything from helping you produce your website to making sure that your customers orders are coming though and being properly processed. With that much sensitive information floating around with those vendors, it’s important to make sure that they are keeping all of it safe and secure.
Those vendors should be expecting the same kind of respect and privacy from their employees as you do yours. The employees should undergo a form of security training and know what to do in case they get a suspicious email. It’s also good to make sure that the third parties value keeping their sites safe and secure and that they’re taking the appropriate steps to ensure that things are being done. For you to make sure that they are doing everything they need to be doing to protect yours and their information, it’s crucial that you check with them to see how things are going and that they are willing and able to give you a response.
Keep Your Own Information Safe
As a business owner, emails can be used to share private or personal information with employees, business partners or other companies. Different email programs come with different encryption systems. For example, your emails may be only able to be opened by certain people within a certain chain of emails, or, if someone from the outside tries to gain access to what they emails say, what they read will not be what you actually wrote.
Protecting Your Files
Many business owners keep personal bank information, income statistics, employee contacts and other necessary things within files on their computer. They keep them all together as it is good to always know where that important information is kept.To prevent anyone from gaining access to these specific files, many business owners will choose to export all of their information onto an external drive for safe keeping. Doing this is also a good way to keep your files backed up in case something were to ever damage or hurt your computer.
The external drives an range anywhere from a full-on hard drive to a small USB that can be kept in one’s backpack, pocket or purse. While the USBs are a lot smaller, they are able ot store a lot of memory and can do the job quite well.
Using Passwords Efficiently
Many owners may not realize it, but utilizing a password can help to keep people out of your business and clear your company of any risk of becoming targeted by hackers or stolen information.
Anything that uses a password, whether it be for an email, social media page, or other important files, should be carefully. For example, passwords should be eight characters long or more and each password for each application and program should be different. It’s a good idea to change passwords from time to time just be ensure that no one is able to keep up. It’s also a good idea to use the entire keyboard for your password and don’t stick to just numbers and letters.
Of course, all of these actions are for naught if you do not properly train your employees. Securing your business is no joking matter. In order to effectively secure your information, there are a few steps you need to take. Considering that almost 48% of cyber attacks in smaller to midsize businesses are caused by an employee, your staff is the perfect place to begin.
An employee may be completely innocent, opening a harmful email out of misunderstanding. But as a business owner, you must teach your employee which emails may be potentially harmful if opened. There are three key elements they should be on the lookout for:
- Strange or unfamiliar email addresses
- Disjointed or out-of-place subject lines
- Unnamed attachments
Hackers will often use these emails to gain access to different applications within the company, which means it’s vital that every employee understands the warning signs.
Talk to an Expert
If you’re unsure that your business is actually fully protected, even if you have take the proper precautions to securing your cyber-life, work with an IT expert who specializes in preventing cyber attacks and hackings. The IT consultant can help with keeping you up-to-date with the latest technology, giving you the most cost-effective options, save you time when you’re looking to save your company, and create a productive technological world for you and your entire company. By investing in the consultant, you’re investing in the security of your company and its future.
Keeping your business safe and secure will help you not only keep the trust of your customers, but make sure that your business can continue to grow for years to come. By taking the proper safety and security measures, you’re ensuring that no one will be able to hack your sites or access any of your private information.
About the Guest Author
As the chief visionary behind Exigent Technologies’ long-standing success in the IT industry, Daniel Haurey stands out as one of New Jersey’s leading entrepreneurs and accomplished business leaders. His passion for success and fun-loving nature inspires Exigent’s high-energy company culture and white-glove customer service.