Small business owners often ignore security because they always think that they can’t be a target – because their business is small. This thinking is very wrong. Hackers and thieves go for the small players because they are the ones who have lesser investments, and they know that these people do not put their business’ security on the top. People who setup their business office at home often forget that people in their house or people coming into their house can’t be trusted all the time and leave their house “open” to others, making their small business vulnerable. Also, these people lack training on risk management, security issues, and contingency planning. All of these traits can make them a target.
Most people who want to start their own business are only concerned with one thing – making money. They find different ways on how to promote their products and services with a very little investment. With a little amount of money, sometimes almost free, you can have your own business website. It is so easy to make and even a kid can come up and create an elegant-looking and professional website. And with the hype of social networking, people can share your page and eventually people will notice what things that you can offer. Unfortunately, more ways are being found to steal ones identity, or should I say, one’s business. And since social networking is the latest craze in the Internet, hackers find more ways on how to get into your account and steal any information that can be of use.
Several mistakes can be avoided and these things will protect you and your business from losing thousands of dollars, if not the whole business. Most of these tips are very simple and most of us just forget or take it for granted, not knowing that these will become of the reasons for their loss. Even if they do not have the proper training for risk management or contingency planning, these things will help them prevent these crimes from happening.
Personal Information – Providing personal info to strangers is a major no-no. It is better to choose a different name for your business and keep your personal account separate from your business account. Not all people who inquire about your business are interested in putting money into your business. It is better to meet up with people to know them thoroughly and get identification always for your own security. Most identity thefts happening in the US gets information like name and address of the business owner for them to issue checks under that name.
Password Changes – If you have a website or are into Internet marketing through social networking sites, be sure to have your password changed every few weeks or so. Sadly, there are tools available in the internet which is designed to crack one’s password. This would mean changing your email’s password too. Be sure to have a separate email address for your own business and for your own personal stuff. If you don’t want to change your password all the time, then make sure to come up with a good password at the beginning.
Physical Security – If you run your business at home, you can never be wrong if you set up locks in your home business office. File cabinets with locks are essential in this kind of setup. Shred past business transactions or store them securely. Don’t let any of your household helpers (gardener, nanny, masseuse, etc.) have a full access to your room. Always lock the door if you have to.
Train Your Employees – Not all of your employees should have access to everything like databases and business proposals/transactions. So, make sure that you have a level of access in each employee that you have. They should have restrictions as to what access they have to your files.
Computer security– Invest on original operating systems and firewalls. Make sure your computer is always updated and make sure they are password protected. If you are using Wi-Fi at home, be sure that you have a WEP key or wireless password in your router. Open wireless access is more prone to hackers. Always update your anti-virus software regularly.
Get your business noticed, securely – Make sure that if you broadcast information in the internet, you’re broadcasting the right information. You don’t need to put very important information that can make your business at risk.
Protect yourself from the Net – There are not many laws that protect individuals using the Internet. If there are any, it’s not applied to all states in the US or your country might not have one at all. So the simpler way of protecting yourself, is to be sure and trust no one.
With all of these tips in mind, I’m pretty sure thieves and hackers will have hard time getting information that can be used against you. Remember that as a small business owner, it is important to always stay alert and be vigilant of your surroundings and of your co-workers. As what they always say, its better be safe than be sorry.