There have been many cyber threats in the news in recent years. Last year’s Solar Winds and Colonial Pipeline hacks both shook the economy and left many on edge about the future. In more recent history, the threat of cyberwar raised by events in Ukraine has shed new light on how important cybersecurity is for the modern world and the need for all of us to keep data secure.
The concern over securing digital devices and data doesn’t just apply to sprawling governments and massive corporations. It also impacts smaller entities, including startups and small businesses.
If you’re a small business owner, don’t assume that you’re too small to be at risk. Instead, consider these recommendations as simple-yet-impactful ways that you can safeguard your business against the ever-imminent threat of a cyberattack.
1. Find a good IdP.
When addressing cybersecurity, it’s tempting to focus on the devices and the data that you’re trying to protect. However, another critical angle is the people that are using said content.
Both you and your employees must be able to protect their online activity as they access your company’s database. This can be tricky in a world dominated by decentralized application solutions and third-party providers.
Chances are you already have a wide variety of different tools in your tech stack, each of which requires its own login, passwords, and so on.
This is where an IdP can come in handy. Okta defines an IdP or “Identity Provider” as a service that helps to manage digital identities. Companies can utilize an IdP to help give themselves and their employees easy access to all of the tools or areas of data that they have permission to access.
A good IdP gives you an added layer of security — all while streamlining much of the work that goes into logging in and out of different areas of your digital infrastructure throughout the day.
2. Set up a secure network.
It’s important to safeguard your company’s digital devices, but there’s another line of cybersecurity that you should tend to, as well: your network.
The overarching protection of your company’s network is called network security. The Wi-Fi experts at Plume define this as protecting your larger, web-connected network from the threat of infiltration.
There are many ways to do this. For example, you can encrypt your local network, change your router and admin passwords regularly, and set up guest networks for public users.
If you operate in a physical office space, you can address this easily, as you only need to protect one Wi-Fi router.
However, if you’re like many businesses in the post-pandemic era, you likely have employees working from home, too.
If that’s the case, it’s important to take steps to protect your staff’s home networks and routers, as well. You can start by training them to maintain good digital hygiene (more on that further down.) You can also equip them with dependable routers from companies that are known for their security.
Even so, be aware that it is always more difficult to protect your networks and keep data secure when your employees are working from different locations.
That’s why, along with a safe network, you want to keep your employees’ individual activities as safe as possible, which brings us to our last point.
3. Institute good digital hygiene.
Your data is only as safe as you are when you handle it.
Consider the example of an old-fashioned bank vault. A financial institution might have a vault with thick walls and massive locks. But if an employee opens it up when a thief is present, at that moment, they compromise all of the security that the vault offers.
It’s the same story with data.
You could have an air-tight cybersecurity program in place. But if you or your employees mishandle your devices, it can open up the opportunity for hackers to take advantage of the “door being open,” so to speak.
The best way to avoid this is by instituting good digital hygiene policies. SeaGlass Technology succinctly summarizes this term by explaining that it is the practice of cleaning up both electronic- and information-based assets and keeping them updated.
You can do this in multiple ways.
- For instance, using strong, secure passwords is ground zero for good digital hygiene.
- So is organizing your digital assets, like documents, files, and folders, so that you know where everything is.
- Keeping all of your devices up to date is also critical. This includes installing updates and patches as soon as they’re available.
Digital hygiene isn’t just for the boss. It’s something that all of your employees should be comfortable with maintaining to help keep data secure. Take the time to define what the term means and then train your staff to keep up their digital hygiene over the long haul.
At this point, there are too many cyber threats to keep track of. With so many digital dangers lurking around every corner, it behooves even small business owners to take extra precautions.
The good news is that there are easy ways to do so. Find a good IdP. Secure your network. Train your staff to practice good digital hygiene. It’s little things like this that make the difference when a cybercriminal comes knocking.