Cybersecurity is a big issue for businesses. Both small and large businesses are at risk from data breaches and hacking, and it’s the small businesses that could end up with more to lose. When you’re establishing a business or simply reviewing the technology you use within it, your cybersecurity should be one of your main priorities. Ask yourself the following questions to make sure that your business is protected from the real threats affecting your online security today.
Are your security systems effective?
There are several basic components that should make up your cybersecurity system to protect your business from threats. These include:
- A firewall
A network that keeps your data safe from outside intruders by monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic. This could either be in hardware or software form and is effective at protecting your technology from hackers and viruses.
- Anti-malware and anti-spyware software
Despite your best efforts, your business could still fall victim to a hack or data breach as a result of malware of spyware. Employees who mistake a phishing email for something harmless could trigger various consequences that could be bad news for your company. Choosing the best anti-malware and anti-spyware software for your business can help to reduce your risk.
- Secure access points
Make sure that your routers are upgraded to boast the most up-to-date security levels. If your routers aren’t equipped with WPA or WPA2 encryption, it’s time to upgrade. Meanwhile, you should aim to ensure that you have separate access points for your business and your customers to reduce threats to your systems.
- Basic security measures
Do you make it mandatory for employees to refresh their passwords every 6-8 weeks? Are your files password protected? Some elements may seem common sense, but it’s surprising how many businesses can fail to equip themselves with basic security measures.
- A cybersecurity policy
Even the smallest of businesses need a cybersecurity policy to keep their details from harm, as well as that of their customers. An effective cybersecurity policy should outline what your employees can and can’t do online, why the policy exists, what the consequences are for breaking the policy as well as direct people to help resources should they need them.
2. Have your employees had the right cybersecurity training?
In addition to putting the right systems in place, it’s important that you offer your employees the right training to give them the knowledge and confidence to operate safely online at work, and at home. An overwhelming amount of cyber attacks are caused by employee error, and even though many of these mistakes are simply human error – they need to be avoided as much as possible.
When introducing a new cybersecurity policy, it’s important that there is training to accompany it. You can’t trust that everyone will read and understand it, which is why training is a must. Employees need to be given guidance on what to do when presented with a threat, how to avoid phishing scams and how to manage theirs and customers’ data securely. Cybersecurity training shouldn’t just be reserved for activities at work; it should be extended to cover personal use outside of the office to help employees stay protected wherever they are.
If you need some pointers on what your training should cover, this helpful article will cover some of the basics. If you’re a small business, you may not have the resources to deliver effective training. External companies may be better placed to provide you with the most appropriate cybersecurity training.
3. Do mobile devices have sufficient protection?
It’s becoming more common for businesses to use portable devices to carry out everyday business functions. From accessing emails via phones or analyzing data via tablet devices, there are many secondary technology devices that can be used in the workplace. Additionally, more businesses are employing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy – something which comes with many benefits for employees, but also poses additional risks for businesses regarding cybersecurity.
Mobile devices may seem secure, but they are just at risk of threats as other networked devices. The lack of firewalls, the higher risk of theft and the lack of security software all trigger alarm bells for businesses, making it important to consider all mobile devices when implementing cybersecurity policies. Software solutions exist for encrypting business data on portable devices, while access tokens are popular for adding that extra level of security for employees who work remotely.
With the risk of theft higher with portable devices, it’s important that you educate your employees on what to do if their device was to be lost or stolen. In these events, it doesn’t hurt to have someone responsible for control measures out of hours, or even an external company to manage your out of hours IT security.
Cloud computing is another area of concern for your business. Remote working is a fantastic development for employers and employees, allowing work to be carried out anywhere in the world without interruptions to services. It also allows employees to be able to adopt flexible working practices that help to instill a better work/life balance. However, cloud computing does pose some risks, especially if you haven’t got the right security systems in place to accommodate it. This can be remedied by choosing a cloud computing provider that has experience in implementing secure systems like the cloud services from ATB-Tech.com, who place importance on both functionality and security. With the right security in place, there’s no reason why your business can’t benefit from cloud working.
4. How are you staying up to date with emerging threats?
Having the right cybersecurity policy in place is one thing, but how are you making sure you’re benefitting from the latest protection? New threats emerge every day, and you’d be surprised at the number of businesses that have been at serious risk of an attack, and its financial impact. It’s easy to get complacent with cybersecurity, but a quick glance at the facts will show that it’s not something to be ignored. The risk shows no sign of slowing down, so it’s important that you stay up to date with the latest emerging threats to protect your business.
There are several ways that businesses can stay up to date on the latest cybersecurity threats. You, or the person responsible for your IT security should employ various measures to help stay on top the latest updates, including:
- Subscribing to news and blog sites dedicated to cybersecurity. The Hacker News and Security Week are two of the many resources that are worth reading.
- Make it a part of your role to attend industry-related cybersecurity events. There are various talks and seminars that are aimed at businesses to help educate them about the latest cybersecurity dangers and to share the latest research. If you regularly attend conferences and events, keep an eye out on the program for areas of interest that could provide some essential learnings for your business.
- Bookmark web pages that are reliable sources for sharing news of the latest threats. Security Intelligence offers a great guide to some of the best.
5. What steps can I take immediately to protect my business?
If the above questions have given you a wake-up call, it’s time to start taking action to protect your business from cybersecurity threats. Business size doesn’t matter when it comes to security, so even if you are a sole-trader or you work on a freelance basis, you should review your security practices to make sure they are up to scratch. Simple checks such as the complexity of your passwords can seem standard and insignificant, but they could be some of the most vital for your business.
If your equipment is outdated or no longer fit for purpose, upgrade it. Financing technology can be difficult for small businesses, but there are solutions available to make the cost easier to cover. Leasing your technology could be a smart move if you want to benefit from having the latest equipment. You should also ensure that you regularly update your software, as updates tend to include security patches to help tackle the latest threats.
Are you confident in your IT policies? Even if you think you’ve got the main things covered, it could be time to update it in line with the latest developments in technology and cyber threats. Getting an independent company to review or design your policy could provide you with extra assurance that you have the right guidelines in place. No matter when the policy was created, make it a priority to review it now and change accordingly. Going forward, you should review your IT policy regularly to ensure that the latest threats have been taking into account.
Cybersecurity is a huge concern for businesses, and protecting your business and your customers from harm should be a top priority. By reviewing your systems regularly and ensuring that you have all of the right protection in place, you can stand the best chance of avoiding the headlines and becoming the latest victim of a hacking scandal. Improve your cybersecurity today and futureproof your business before it’s too late.