With cybercrime growing at unprecedented rates, it is imperative that the small businesses guard their resources with at least the very basic yet effective measures, as high end tools are out of reach of most small business’s budget.
Cyber security essentially deals with the prevention of unwanted access and information theft by hackers. Since small businesses store a moderate amount of data, contacts and potentially valuable financial information ideal for small scale identity thefts, they pose as a significantly softer target than multinational big shot companies with enhanced security.
Want to know the basics of cyber security? Read on…
The first step to building a proper and securely protected castle against a digital intrusion is to first be aware of your own shortcomings. Assess the present security protocols you already have in place. Look for unprotected networks and loopholes that a hacker can exploit to gain access to your system.
Start by making a list of all your information assets, how they’re accessed, by whom and how they are protected (don’t forget to think about tablets and smartphones). Also think about the risk – what would it mean and cost if your data was breached. How much downtime can your business handle? Also consider any growth plans you have for the business. How will this impact your computer/online security needs.
A Bit of Common Sense
Ensure that all passwords are encrypted and require a combination of numbers letters and symbols. Teach any employees that their birthday or their girlfriend’s phone number isn’t such a secure password as it seems.
Make the use of on-screen virtual keyboard mandatory to prevent hackers from tracking your key-presses. If possible, incorporate a system where the password keeps changing every second and one has to use a code generator to log in to the system.
Ensure all Virtual Private Networks are intrusion proofed. More often than not, it is by open networks that most viruses and hackers gain access. Ideally, all devices that log on to all networks within your company should be monitored.
All secure files should be stored on a separate server that maintains a database and a record of all the devices that are used to access the information. Super sensitive information should be kept available to only people with top level clearance.
Keep track of any security breach attempts over the years – even if it’s your Facebook account. Note which assets are most targeted and whether intensifying security on those areas will become counterproductive. This can be easily done by assessing how much those assets mean to you and your clients, and whether the profit generated with them is at par with the cost of the security measures.
The very basics of cyber security start with a good antivirus program. All original operating systems come with their own antivirus software, but it would be best to employ a third party anti-virus to do the dirty part of the job.
Employ a good firewall and ensure it keeps running, protecting all the entry and exit points of your company to the World Wide Web. In the event that one machine does get affected, create a contingence plan to isolate the system and prevent the attack from spreading.
Educate employees on decent workspace behavior and prevent the use of flash drive, as not only can they be used to steal company resources, they can be used to spread in viruses as well.
At the end of the day, nothing can beat a good old fashioned eye for details. If you sense anything fishy, get it checked by an expert.