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Here are some tips to keep your small and medium business safe from cyber criminals
Digital security has become incredibly important in business. With each passing day, we rely more and more on technology for the storage and transfer of information. And true to form, hackers and digital thieves tend to stay up-to-date, practicing nonstop vigilance and adjusting to new security measures with new workarounds. For the most part, large businesses have developed strategies and can hire multiple employees to cover these concerns. But where small businesses are concerned, it can be up to a single owner or employee to manage the complex security issues at hand, often without the budget to support top-notch digital security measures. So keeping that in mind, here are a few simple tips for small businesses looking to up their security.
Designate The Office For Work Only
If your small business includes any kind of office or store environment, one of the first and most important steps you can take toward better security is to establish a rule to keep personal web browsing at home. That’s not to say you need to block everything from the New York Times to ESPN, but you do need to recognize that a lot of personal Internet activity (and in particular social sites) can invite all kinds of attacks and viruses. By instructing employees to leave this sort of activity out of the office, you’re essentially eliminating a significant portion of the threats.
Require Complex, Changing Passwords
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it’s one that far too many people ignore, particularly in professional environments. With all the demands of business, a lot of us just want convenient passwords that are easy to recall and quick to type in. But this can leave you incredibly vulnerable. For proper security, not only should employees use complex and difficult passwords, but they should be different for every service and changed often. You don’t want to enable various services and systems to be accessed if just one of your passwords is guessed, and you don’t want to leave any one password active for too long in case someone’s getting close to it.
Facilitate Secure Payments
Particularly if your small business includes a store location at which items can be purchased, your digital security concerns need to extend to your customers. With more payments being made via card or even mobile device these days, there are serious security risks regarding the vulnerability of a customer’s bank accounts. For this reason, it’s vital to equip your stores with card readers and point-of-sale equipment that requires PIN verification and can process fast and secure credit card payments. Anything less could leave your customers vulnerable and also lead to you unwittingly accepting payments from a stolen card.
Secure Your Cloud
Finally, regardless of tangible concerns like typing in passwords or accepting payments, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that the cloud network your small business may be using is as secure as possible. To a large extent, this just means choosing a cloud provider whose built-in security you’re comfortable with from the start. However, even when you’ve established usage of a cloud platform, you can continue to encrypt data and set backup schedules. Encryption will keep your data protected even if your cloud is breached, and backup schedules save you from the risk of losing data simply due to technical error.
A lot of digital security still comes down to common sense and discipline. However, through the ideas and methods listed above, you can appropriately address a number of the chief concerns faced by modern small businesses.