Via Forbes : “Better safe than sorry,” the old saying goes. There’s a reason conventional wisdom sticks around so long—it’s usually right.
With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, cloud computing, coworkers distributed near and far, and the general connectivity of current workplaces, cyber security is becoming a bigger issue than ever before…even for small businesses. Though some businesses may believe they’re “too small” to attract hackers’ interest, that’s actually far from the truth. In his “SMB Cyber Security Survival Guide,“ CSSIP and “Security Evangelist” Stephen Cobb says small to medium businesses are the “sweet spot for the criminally inclined”: SMB have more valuable digital assets to steal than your average consumer, but less security than a large corporation.
When it comes to your business’s cyber security, you can’t afford to be sorry. Stolen funds, data breaches, hacked websites, hijacked social media accounts, and other threats to your online security cost your company money, productivity, and reliability. Here’s how to protect your business from attack.
Have a Strong Cyber Security Plan
Small businesses frequently aren’t up to industry standards for internet security or prepared to handle a security breach, making them all the more vulnerable. A May 2015 survey by Endurance indicates that over a third of American small businesses have no cyber security measures at all in place. Many small businesses have only an informal security plan.
Carefully assess the assets at risk for your company, and create a cyber security plan (or hire a consultant to help you). Your plan should cover:
- Access to sensitive information and how that access is controlled
- Privacy policies for customer/client information
- Secure WiFi network
- Data encryption
- Anti-virus and malware software
- Email security
- Password management
- Endpoint (mobile) device security tools and policies
- Physical security measures
Once your plan is implemented, clearly communicate policies to employees (and enforcing them). Many employees don’t understand the risks of certain behaviors, or don’t truly believe that their habits could cause any harm.
Keep Software Up-to-Date
Make sure you have the most recent versions of all software installed—especially (obviously) data-protecting, antivirus, and malware-spotting software. Ensure that all software installed is safe and legitimate: if possible, limit permissions so that employees are not able to install software without authorization.
Address Mobile Device Weakness
With more and more workplaces connected at all hours of the day, business done from personal mobile devices is a growing cyber threat. When employees email documents, record meeting audio or video, or transmit or save business data in any other way on unsecured devices, this data becomes vulnerable.
In a BYOD environment, it’s important both to make sure that employees’ personal devices are secure, and that employees themselves understand and comply with your mobile security policies.
Consider Cyber Insurance
A data breach or other type of hack can expose sensitive information to the world, potentially damaging your hard-earned reputation and losing customers. If—even after putting robust security measures in place—an attack does happen, this valuable service can help your business cope with the financial costs of the attack, the expense of recovery and legal action, and in some cases, any PR issues that may arise.
Keep in mind that cyber insurance does not take the place of creating and implementing a cyber security plan. Insurance can only do so much, and it only comes into play after the fact to minimize the damage done. Your best bet is to prevent attacks from happening.
Stay a step (or several!) ahead of the threats, protecting your business’s security and its financial well-being. Make your cyber security a priority.
Lisa Majdi is the Director of Cox Business segment marketing, focused on the Mid-Market/Large Local customer segment. In addition to her 17 years of marketing leadership, she holds a Master’s degree in Communications from Western Kentucky University and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt certification.
By Lisa Majdi, Cox Business