These days, it seems like every advancement made in the field of cyber security is accompanied by one in the field of cybercrime. To make matters worse, many cybercriminals are highly adaptive and able to alter their approaches at a moment’s notice. When it comes to modern-day cybercrime, data theft is the name of the game. After getting their hands on the right data, online crooks are able to commit crimes that range from identity theft to large-scale bank fraud. Since small businesses tend to be popular targets for data divers, it behooves security-conscious entrepreneurs to safeguard their most sensitive information.
While thwarting the efforts of experienced cybercriminals may seem like a sizable undertaking, any small business owner can do it with the help of the following pointers.
Protect Individual Devices.
For maximum data protection, each of your employees’ devices will need to be outfitted with the proper security apparatus. This means password-protecting every desktop, laptop and tablet used for business purposes and equipping them with an assortment of antivirus tools and malware blockers. In many cases, hackers only need to find their way into a single device to throw an entire enterprise into chaos, making it imperative for your team members to understand the importance of device protection.
To ensure compliance, make a point of conducting semi-regular checks of all work-related devices. Additionally, make sure all new hires know how seriously your business takes security. If noncompliance becomes an issue, consider imposing penalties on team members who repeatedly fail to secure their devices. Unless the aforementioned security measures are actively interfering with an employee’s ability to use a certain device, there’s no reason for these rules to be ignored.
Be Vigilant About Password Protection.
As previously mentioned, passwords should play an important role in any cyber security apparatus. Not only should your employees password-protect their devices, they should also strive to create passwords that are impossible to guess. Since social media outlets provide a glut of information about most users, encourage your staff to avoid using birthdays, pet names and other tidbits that can easily be obtained through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Furthermore, discourage the use of common idioms and turns of phrase, as these are often among hackers’ first guesses. Since they’re virtually impossible to guess, nonsense phrases accompanied by random strings of numbers tend to work best. Each employee should also be required to use a different password for each work device. While this can prove somewhat cumbersome for people who frequently alternate between devices, their passwords will become easier to remember the longer they use them.
Keep Security Programs up-to-Date.
Cybercriminals are constantly finding ways around existing protections, thus facilitating the need for security companies to update their software. In fact, many prominent antivirus programs and malware protectors update on a near-daily basis. Unfortunately, not everyone who uses these programs sees fit to stay current with updates. Although downloading and installing updates can be a little bothersome, each one of them serves an important purpose. For this reason, each employee should be required to download and install security updates as they become available. All it takes is a single slip-up for hackers to find their way in, so ignoring these updates or allowing them to pile up can have far-reaching consequences. Companies that boast GDPR compliance must be particularly vigilant about keeping security software up-to-date.
Secure Your Office Network.
Every private network should be secured, be it home or office. If seasoned cybercriminals are able to infiltrate your Wi-Fi network, data theft is practically a certainty. In addition to outfitting your network with a strong password, you’ll need to prohibit your employees from sharing it with outside parties. As an added precaution, you may also want to consider changing your Wi-Fi password every few months.
Cybercriminals will stop at nothing to get their hands on sensitive data. With their methods getting more intricate by the day, it’s no wonder so many cyber security programs are constantly updating. Since small businesses possess an abundance of financial data, it’s easy to see why they’re such popular targets. As such, no enterprise can afford to shrug off the threat posed by information thieves. In the quest to keep your company’s most important data safe, the measures discussed above can prove invaluable.