5 Ways To Keep Your Small Business Safe Online
It will be of little surprise to you when we say your business isn’t safe. There have been external threats to businesses large and small, with hackers keen to grab customer information, steal money, and blackmail both new and experienced business owners. The consequences for your business are many. A data breach can both bring down your business and ruin your reputation, so you do need to make security a priority within your operation.
- Set up your defences. You wouldn’t leave your door unlocked at night, leaving your business vulnerable to burglars, and the same applies to your computer network. You need to secure your computer through firewalls, antivirus software, passwords, and anti-spam filters. The stronger your defences, the harder you are making it for the cybercriminal. Remember, however, that hackers are clever people, so they will always be looking for new ways to bypass your internet security. Therefore, whenever you get an update popup from whatever software you have installed, be sure to follow through with the process, as you are then installing the very latest features designed to protect you from the newest threats formulated by those clever hackers.
- Educate your employees. Everybody involved within your business needs to be aware of the threats posed from cybercrime. There will be training opportunities near you, so look for the relevant provider, and book your staff onto a course. Continue training regularly, refreshing existing staff on the dangers of cybercrime, while giving new employees the opportunity to learn more as part of their induction. You should also put policies in place, making it a duty for every employee to read them. These should include information on the proper-usage of company computers, and the consequences related to anybody who purposefully breaches the rules you have governed around information sharing and safe internet behaviour.
- Be mindful of social media. Social media is great for your business, especially when it comes to marketing what you have to offer. But it can also trip you up, as if you or your employees accidentally (or purposefully) share information online that has consequences for your company, then you are going to face trouble. Use social media responsibly, and factor basic guidelines into your policies. These include not sharing confidential information with anybody, not even family and ‘trusted’ friends. There should be no gossip about staff members or customers. And you and your team need to be mindful of what you post, as both your personal and business reputation will suffer if you post anything online that turns off your customers and worries your investors.
- Operate wisdom at all times. There are some simple things you can do to protect your business online. These rely on common sense, but slip-ups can occur. As examples, consider the following: Don’t forget to close down your computer when you are not at your desk, or at the very least, make sure you have strong passwords in place. Anybody can access the information you have on your computer, including your employees and your business visitors. Don’t let your staff members take company laptops home with them, as again, anybody can gain access to information, whether it’s over your employee’s shoulder, or by accessing the computer when they are not using it. And don’t click on any dodgy-looking email links, as these can be a gateway for hackers to sabotage your business with a range of computer viruses and malware. We can all make mistakes, and we can all make silly decisions. But when it comes to your company’s security, you need to be at the top of your game when it comes down to basic common sense.
- Physically secure your technology. After securing your computers with the latest software and firewalls, you need to pay special attention to your place of business. You don’t want anybody strolling in and walking off with any of your laptops or data storage equipment. They may not care about your online data at all, but then again, if they do get access to your cloud and social media information, they could use your information to leverage control and power over your business. The same applies to your smartphone. These small devices can be incredibly easy to steal, whether you are at work, on your commute, or simply out and about during the day. If your phone is synced to the cloud, with ready access to sensitive data to those who could misuse it, you are going to face the consequences. Your best bet is to have a separate phone for work, and securing it away within your office when you’re not using it. By installing locks, CCTV cameras and alarm systems around your business, you are better protecting the online information that can be found on your hardware.
To protect your business, follow the advice we have given you. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and while you can never be truly safe in today’s technological world, you can still put into practice good habits and the relevant tech to keep your small business safe online.