As part of our content team's efforts from time to time, we like to write on partner blogs and share out knowledge with the world. Recently one of the pieces we generated attracted the attention of Microsoft. coms editors for their small business section. We’re beyond thrilled to have our ideas, and tips signed off on by none other than Microsoft.com. For business owners, this piece is an absolute must-read, and not just larger businesses. If you so much as exchange a dime over the internet, or pass sensitive client data for your 1 man small business, these business IT security tips are essential for just about everyone to understand.
The Need for Business IT Security
Business IT security doesn’t have to be complicated or frustrating. In this post, we break down 10 simple and easy to apply tips that will leave your business better protected against common threats. We all know that you should change passwords frequently and that we should watch out for malware and viruses, but what other threats are lurking and what can you do to prevent costly loss of data, or worse identity theft.
Below you’ll find a link to the original post and a small sample of what you’ll learn inside.
10 Tips for Small Business Data Security
Small businesses are an important part of the economy since they can have a large footprint on business and commerce, both offline and online. But is providing service and support enough? There is a growing need to protect customers and their data to ensure their safety and security. Read the full post at Microsoft.com
Small businesses are vital to the economy because they significantly impact business and trade, both offline and online. Is it, however, enough to provide service and support? Customers and their data are increasingly being protected to assure their safety and security. Here are a few cyber security tips for small businesses.
- Updates to the software and patches regularly. To achieve small business cybersecurity, software updates are essential. Security patches are included in software upgrades, which are essential in the case of cyberattacks. However, a router—and the devices linked to it—remain susceptible without these updated fixes. As a result, businesses should upgrade the firmware of their wireless routers and all other devices in the workplace, such as printers and scanners.
- Make A Backup Of Everything. We can't stress enough how important it is to back up your data. Use an external hard drive for backup, look into the many cloud storage possibilities, and keep a hard duplicate of your information on hand.
- One of your first considerations should be to install a firewall on your system. Several firewall software solutions are available, so look around and choose one that you know works.
- Protect Yourself From Viruses, Malware, Spyware. Any device linked to the internet is vulnerable, so make sure you have the most up-to-date anti-virus software installed. Run regular checks and make sure that someone is in charge of keeping the software up to date.
- Employees should be trained. According to research quoted in a CNBC story, employee irresponsibility is the leading cause of data breaches. Human mistake, such as an employee's accidental loss of a device, was cited by nearly half of organizations (47%) as the cause of a data breach at their company. As a result, organizations must invest in cybersecurity training for their personnel.
- Passwords and Authentication. In the fight against cyber dangers, strong passwords that are difficult to guess—at least 20 characters long and include numbers, letters, and symbols—are essential. The more complicated a password is to crack, the less likely a fearsome attack will succeed. Small firms should also include multi-factor authentication (MFA) in their employees' devices and apps as a precaution.
- Risk assessments that are updated regularly. Risk assessments may appear to be something that only large companies have the time and resources to do. On the other hand, small organizations should think about integrating them into their cybersecurity operations. In addition, businesses should consider "what if" scenarios in terms of cybersecurity, particularly as it pertains to data storage.
- Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). When working from home or while traveling, employees can use a VPN to connect to the company's network securely. Because employees frequently access the internet, which is not as secure as the company's network, this is required. In addition, because VPNs encrypt data, they help lessen the consequences of a cyberattack.
- Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks. Businesses must protect their wireless networks in every manner possible. They can modify the router's default name and password, which are simple to perform. It's critical to modify the router's name to something that doesn't immediately reveal the company's name.
- Employ Best Practices on Payment Cards. Small businesses rely on their banks and card processors to ensure that all anti-fraud precautions are taken. Therefore, in addition to physically handling clients' cards with care, the business's wireless network's security protocol should be configured to the strongest, WPA3. The PCI Security Standards Council forbids merchants from processing credit card data using the obsolete Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protocol, decommissioned in 2003.