Hacking threats pose a serious problem for small and mid-sized businesses today,. Small Businesses usually lack the resources employed by larger corporations, making them a prime target for cybercriminals. To safeguard their resources, many Small Businesses rely on antivirus software and built-in firewalls. In a perfect world, they could also use the help of a top-notch security specialist to implement safeties in place to protect their devices and files.
But Small Businesses aren’t completely alone in their cyber security efforts. Using the many resources available, they can put measures in place to stay safe. Here are five ways your Small Business can lock down your network and reduce your risk of a devastating data breach.
Create Internal Policies
What is your company’s biggest cyber security risk? You may be surprised to learn it’s your own employees. Often criminals make their way into a network thanks to an employee clicking a link in an email or using weak passwords. Staying abreast of the latest scams and regularly educating your employees on those scams could be key to keeping your network safe.
In addition to your education efforts, check with the person who set up your server to make sure protections are put in place. You can set strong password requirements and lock down software installation rights at the workstation level to minimize the damage risky employee behavior can do.
Strengthen Your Network
Conduct regular audits on your networks to make sure you have the maximum protections in place. If you don’t have a full-time IT staff, consider paying a local trusted IT service an hourly fee to occasionally review your network for vulnerabilities.
In addition to regularly checking for weaknesses on the network level, have your security professional provide you a list of each employee’s access levels. Does each employee have only the privileges he needs to do his job? Employee responsibilities can change, so it’s important to check these rights on a regular basis.
Check Your Software
The foundation of your business’s security is the antivirus software you use to protect your network from infiltration. This software should be updated regularly with the latest definitions to keep your network safe. Check out the Norton Small Business product available at Staples, which puts the best of Norton security on your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet. It guards your computer from viruses, online threats, identity theft and financial scams. For your smartphone or tablet, it projects it from loss, unwanted access to messages, contacts and photos.
One major mistake organizations make is ignoring warnings about connected machines. If you’re getting a warning about a machine, disconnect it from the network immediately and run a full scan. If a machine hasn’t been reimaged in a while, reimage it before putting it back in use to ensure the virus is completely removed.
Use Cloud Services
Many Small Businesses are saving time and money by contracting with cloud services for their data storage and application needs. Third-party providers often have access to the latest state-of-the-art security resources, including highly-paid security professionals.
For best results, use only trusted cloud providers. Research their security standards carefully before signing a contract to make sure your data will be safe.
If your business allows mobile devices to connect to your network, you should make sure they are protected, as well. Set up remote-wiping capabilities and procedures for lockdown in the event a device is lost.
For businesses that allow vendors or contractors to access your system, make sure those parties have access only to the sections of your server they need. Carefully vet all parties before allowing them to access your servers.
Small Businesses often lack the resources available to larger companies. With a few safety measures, however, they can enjoy the same security big businesses have at a fraction of the cost.
This blog post is part of my Cyber Security ‘Take the Pledge” campaign with Norton. I’m teaming up with Norton to help educate small businesses on best cyber security practices. Check out their Small Business product available at Staples. For more information, follow #CSPledge.