The Internet has made things easier for businesses of all sizes and belonging to any location by allowing them to reach new and larger markets globally and provide an opportunity to work more competently by leveraging computer-based tools. Whether a company is thinking of using email and maintaining a website, or looking to adopt cloud computing, it is strongly recommended to make cyber security a part of their plan.
As Digital information theft has become the most commonly occurring fraud worldwide, cyber security has become more than necessary. No matter the type of business one is running, if it is making use of the internet, it’s obligatory for that business to form a culture of security that not only helps in augmenting the business but also supports consumer confidence.
For small businesses, the FCC has even launched a Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, which is basically an online resource that allows small businesses to easily create customized cybersecurity plans. An updated one-page Cybersecurity Tip Sheet has also been released by the FCC. This quick resource comprises essential tips on forming a mobile device action plan along with credit card and payment security.
Securing, and Empowering Small Businesses with Technology
Eminent personalities from across the private and public sectors were invited to the FCC roundtable that was held on May 16, 2011. These leaders were asked to provide the most effective and latest strategies related to cyber security for business owners throughout the country.
The agency also released a Cyber security Tip Sheet that outlines ten different ways entrepreneurs can keep their companies and customers protected from cyber attacks. The different ways that can be helpful for the cyber security of your business are as follows:
Top 10 Cyber Security Tips for Business
While the two powerful factors in small businesses that are significant in reaching new markets and growing productivity and efficiency are Broadband and Information Technology, however, businesses definitely need a cyber security strategy to keep their business, their customers, and their data protected against growing cyber security threats. To help with them, you can find below 10 important tips for cyber security for businesses.
- Make Your Employees Learn about Security Principles
Make sure to form certain basic security practices and policies for your employees. These practices and policies may include features such as strong passwords requirement, no use of USB drives on office computers and laptops, and creating strict Internet use guidelines that also include penalties for violating company cyber security policies. Also, form rules of behavior that detail how to protect and manage information and other vital data of the customers.
- Keep your Computers, Information, and Networks Protected from Cyber Attacks
It is always suggested to keep your machines clean by installing the latest operating system, web browser, and security software. Considering these measures will help you have the best defenses against malware, viruses, and several other online cyber threats. Also, make sure to install antivirus software and configure it to run a scan after each update. Moreover, it is also recommended to install other important software updates as soon as they become available for your device or programs.
- Use Firewall Security for your Internet Connection
Firewall security is basically a set of numerous related programs that help in keeping away outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the firewall program of your operating system is enabled. Alternatively, you can also install free firewall software available online. Also, if an employee is working from home, make sure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall security program.
- Have a Mobile Device Action Plan
Mobile devices play a significant role in creating security and management challenges, especially if they contain confidential data and information or are capable of accessing the corporate network. In such a case, taking measures such as – Users need to protect their devices with a password, keep their data encrypted, and install a reliable security app to prevent criminals from stealing important data or information while the phone is active on public networks. It is best to set reporting procedures for stolen or lost devices.
- Backup your Important Business Data and Information
One of the most important and strongly recommended tips is to back up the data on all computers at regular intervals. Critical data involves electronic spreadsheets, word processing documents, accounts receivable/payable files, human resource files, databases, and financial files. If possible, make sure to configure the process of Backing up data automatically. If the automatic process is not possible, make sure to back up information at least weekly. Moreover, make sure to keep the backup copies either offsite or in the cloud.
- Keep Physical Access to your Computers in Check and Keep User Accounts for Each Employee
Another important tip to cyber-secure your business is by preventing the use or access of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops are generally the most common and easy targets for theft or common to get lost. So, it is suggested to keep them safe when not in use. Also, make sure that a separate user account is available for each employee which is secured with a strong password. Administrative privileges should be given only to the trusted IT staff and key personnel.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks
Make sure that the Wi-Fi network of your workplace is completely secure, hidden, and encrypted. To hide your Wi-Fi network, you will need to configure your wireless access point or router, so that it does not broadcast the name of the network, which is known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).
- Implement Best Practices on Payment Cards
It is suggested to discuss with banks or processors to ensure that the most validated and trusted tools and anti-fraud services are being used for the payment cards. Also, you can add extra security obligations legalities to agreements with your bank or processor. Make sure to use separate systems for payment and avoid using less secure programs for these systems. When you don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet, there are fewer chances of fraud affecting the payments.
- Limit Access of Data and Information and Authority to Install Software to Employees
It is always recommended not to provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Give your employees access to just specific data systems that they need according to job responsibility, and they should not be allowed to install any software without taking permission.
- Passwords and Authentication
Ask your employees to create a unique password that is different from all the other accounts including their social networking account. Also, make them change the password every three months for enhanced security. You can also consider employing multi-factor authentication which makes one provide additional information beyond a password to gain access. Also, consult with your vendors that are responsible for managing sensitive data especially that are related to finances, to know whether or not they provide multi-factor authentication for your account.
So, these are the different tips that you can use for the cyber security of your business.