Cybercrime is on the rise there’s no denying that! Whether it’s hacking, viruses, malware or even data breaches these kinds of cybercrime happen more often than you likely think they do. Cybercrime isn’t a rarity anymore it’s unfortunately commonplace, a quick look at the statistics for online fraud and data theft make that clear. While every business is at risk the damage that small to medium sized businesses can suffer is enormous, and it isn’t all about the financial loss either. Never underestimate the damage cyber-attacks can do to your businesses reputation and levels of customer trust.

So what’s the solution? Well there’s no magic one-way fix to prevent all forms of cybercrime from happening, but with our 10 simple tips you can easily make your business more secure.

 

Passwords

We all know about the importance of passwords but when it comes to business password protection, you will want to be a bit more proactive than simply adding a few numbers and letters. Services such as LastPass can be very useful for situations like this as they allow you to generate and manage passwords.LastPass and many other alternatives also usually have enterprise versions of their software that are available for a lower price. With added extras that allow you a more customisable service, there’s also the Active Directory (AD)/Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) integration for you to consider. With this you can utilise automated reporting tools to more precisely find weaknesses and you will also have the ability to real-time sync your devices.

Educate Your Employees

One of the most common ways a security breach can happen is through a simple employee slip up, they might be telling their colleague about a password change unaware they’ve been overheard. Or they might have left a sticky note out with the password on as a reminder. It’s easy to make mistakes but even easier to prevent them from happening, which is why educating your employees is important. Everyone from the intern to the CEO at the top should be educated about how to keep the business secure.

Updates and Patches

We all know that the infamous “update is ready” message can be a bit of a hassle, no one enjoys having to shutdown systems to let updates happen but if you want your business to stay secure then you will need to find time to run updates. And the sooner you do it the better, if you’ve switched auto-updates off to prevent any disruption then make sure you remember to carryout regular checks.You also need to remember that updates will only carry you so far, eventually you will need to move to the newest versions especially for things like anti-virus software. Patching policies and automated patch-management systems are also an option but are costly, it might take a bit more leg work but carrying out the patching yourself is more cost effective and easier than you think. Whatever you do don’t put it off and forget about it.

Don’t Forget Your Surroundings

Not all cybercrime starts in cyberspace! In fact it’s much more likely that someone will break into your place of business than hack into it remotely. But it’s easy to forget that when you’re so focused on ensuring no one can break into your business remotely. Ensuring your place of business is secure is easy: check windows and doors or locked, make sure any remote work equipment is accounted for like laptops or tablets, make sure all documentation is shredded and that alarms are set. You could also invest in Kensington locks for desktops and laptops, these ensure lock screens are activated whenever employees are away from their desks

The Cloud

The Cloud is a hotly debated topic, some small business owners love it while some loathe it. However while opinion does differ I think it’s fair to conclude that the Cloud is a secure option for smaller businesses. In general the Cloud is a great choice for businesses who simply don’t have the means to ensure security against threats. A quality Cloud provider will be protected against a wide range of threats and have all the updates it needs.A reputable Cloud provider will take security very seriously and therefore they can be a great alternative or back-up for smaller businesses. And because by design professional Cloud services are designed to be accessible anywhere they are very useful for data recovery purposes. You can also encrypt your data to give it an extra-layer of protection as well.

Prepare For The Worse 

No one wants their business to experience a cyber-attack or security breach, but you should have plans in place if it does. All too often is the phrase “we never thought it would happen to us” uttered, which although common is inexcusable in this day and age. So make sure you have security plans in place, and make sure you update it regularly. And remember that your security policy shouldn’t just document how to protect your data it should also set out what your staff should do, including an understandable incident-response strategy. Yes it is hard work and requires a lot of planning for something that you will hope you never have to use, but planning ahead will help you prepare if the worst should happen.

Get To Know Your Data

Yeah that sounds a little strange I know, but let me explain not all data is equal is it? To get a full understanding of your data you need to know what is business-critical data and what is sensitive data. After all there’s financial data, customer records and much more, an audit can help you find out exactly how you’ll be affected if your data is to be breached. While data comes in many types and kinds and you’ll need to ensure it’s all safe and secure, you’ll also need to be able to see the difference between high-risk data and less important information. So you’ll need to know where to devote more of your resources as well. Being able to prioritise your data management is an important aspect of keeping your information secure.

Encryption

Encrypting your data is a valuable way of keeping it secure, however it does come with a cost. Encryption can cause inconvenience especially if you are in a hurry and it  is also sometimes thought to be very difficult to employ. While this may have once been the case, encryption technology is becoming more user-friendly and easier to use. This means it is now a much simpler process for you to encrypt data on remote devices like laptops, meaning that if they are lost you’ll have a safety blanket of sorts. Encryption can also be used on online transactions by using Secure Socket Layers (SSL). What you really need to consider is if the extra protection is worth the extra hassle.

Handling The Bring Your Own Device Culture!

The bring your own device (BYOD) culture has taken the business world by storm, but especially for smaller businesses. The BYOD culture might be more convenient but it does bring a lot of security concerns, because having your employees using their own devices is a real money saver, smaller businesses can easily ignore the security risks. But you will live to regret that decision if you do, because BYOD culture by design means you will be mixing personal and business data, so the risk of security breaches and hacking is very high. But there are a number of ways you can improve security while still utilizing the convenience of BYOD culture. Implementing policy-based controls, using encryption and just generally educating your employees can all make a big difference. While also helping ensure that your data is more secure.

Be Proactive About It!

Perhaps the best advice we can give you to help you ensure your business is always safe and secure is to be proactive about it! Even if you’ve followed all the advice we have set out, you can’t rest and just assume everything is safe and sound. The threats are always evolving and changing so you’ll need to keep up with the ever-changing IT landscape. So even after all the work is done, make sure you stay active and always monitor the threats.