You’ve worked hard to get your business up and running. With the same diligence, you’ve also driven the company’s growth. But because businesses often exchange and store a variety of personal and financial information, it makes them attractive targets to cybercriminals. The physical assets a company acquires and keeps onsite can also serve as a means of temptation.
While it’s large-scale ransomware attacks or data breaches that make the news, small businesses are increasingly vulnerable to digital threats. Due to fewer resources, network intrusion and security incident recovery may pose more of a challenge for smaller companies.
Fortunately, prevention and protection methods and incident response plans can help defend businesses against digital and physical security risks. Here are five ways to increase your company’s safety and security.
1. Use Smart Wi-Fi
Whether businesses are large, medium, or small, most can’t live without Wi-Fi. However, online and local network connectivity opens up virtual doors for malicious activity. Every device, person, or digital transaction becomes a potential entry point. Even though small business owners try to be everything and everywhere at once, it’s impossible to monitor it all.
A small business Wi-Fi solution is like having an army of eyes and ears. Built-in AI-powered security software creates a buffer against cyberattacks and continuously monitors your network for them. Before hackers get to your data, the software isolates and shuts down intrusions. You can see what threats your network faces and control access privileges for customers, employees, and critical devices.
2. Implement Two-Factor Authentication
You may already be familiar with two-factor authentication if you’ve set it up through a personal online banking account. Two-factor authentication creates another level of verification for web or cloud-based services. Instead of just relying on login credentials, a one-time code is sent to the account holder’s smartphone or another device.
Because login names and passwords can be compromised, two-factor authentication adds another level of security. This method helps ensure the person trying to gain access to an account is actually authorized. Two-factor authentication can forestall login attempts from unauthorized locations. It’s available in the settings of most cloud-based accounts and only takes a few minutes to enable. For enhanced security, all employees and accounts should use it.
3. Conduct Employee Education and Training
A 2020 study about data breaches revealed 88% of them were caused by employee error. A few examples are downloading email attachments from unknown senders, clicking on suspicious links, and falling for phishing scams. Leaving notes that contain passwords underneath keyboards may seem like an obvious no-no, but it still happens. Employees’ personal devices, including USB drives, are additional sources of error that can put your business at risk.
Courses and training exercises about social engineering and phishing tactics give employees the tools they need to recognize malicious intent. Phishing emails and suspicious links are becoming harder to distinguish from legitimate correspondence. Showing staff the minute differences between phishing attempts and authentic emails may save your business from a disastrous breach.
Educating employees about password management best practices can also prevent unauthorized access. Beyond showing employees what makes a strong password, consider implementing password rules. These protocols could include mandatory password changes every 30 days and password management software to discourage writing logins down. Many cloud-based services and network management tools also let you enable strong password rules.
4. Control Access to Your Building and Equipment
A small business may not have as many devices or as much square footage as a large organization. However, you can still implement some of the building and equipment access control techniques big businesses use. Instead of relying on keys, have employees use electronic keycards or badges to enter and leave the building.
Electronic keycards are easier to revoke and manage since you don’t have to hunt down lost cards. You also won’t have to change the locks every time a key is lost or misplaced. With electronic access, you can easily monitor when employees enter and leave. In addition, electronic keycards allow you to manage access for cleaning or maintenance service contractors.
Another beneficial way to use electronic keycards is to establish restricted access areas in your business. You may not want anyone to be able to physically access critical equipment such as data servers. Set up electronic access to the room where this equipment sits. The keycards or badges of employees whose jobs involve working with the devices can grant entry. All other staff members’ or contractors’ badges won’t.
5. Perform Automated Data Backups
Data loss can happen with or without a breach. Employee error is the usual culprit, as distractions and misunderstandings about software functions cause deleted and corrupted files. If you’re not routinely backing up your company’s data, you’re at risk of losing vital information. That includes customers’ details, intellectual property, and sensitive documentation you may not be able to recreate.
When you automate nightly backups of your files and information, you’re ensuring your business can get back in gear. If data loss happens, you and your staff will have an exact replica of everything that’s been wiped out.
Cloud-based business suites and software let you turn on automated backups that are accessible from anywhere. However, it’s also best practice to create additional redundancy by backing up data to a separate physical device or server.
Keeping Your Business Secure
The above list is by no means exhaustive. File and device encryption, third-party security audits, and data breach response and recovery planning are additional tools to use. Even small changes, such as installing metal security gates, outdoor motion lights and detectors may deter criminals’ ambitions and increase physical defenses.
Maintaining the safety and security of your business is a full-time job. With the aid of AI-driven and automated technology and best practices, you can face visible and under-the-radar threats. Implementing these tools and methods will help protect your and your employees’ work and reputation.
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