If you watch the news regularly, then you will have noticed an increase in numbers with regards to cyber attacks, where criminals are attempting to extract money through phishing, ransomware and many other sophisticated techniques. Stopping these criminals is becoming near impossible, with some of the world’s biggest companies becoming targets. However, there are a number of precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of being targeted.
If you have a small business, then you should always be looking for ways to improve all of your systems and processes, to make them more secure. Here are some of the basic actions that you can take:
Data Security Tips for Small Business Owners
Back up your data – By backing up your data, you are less likely to suffer from data loss. Whether you are attacked, and your data is taken from your PC, or someone accidentally deletes files, having a backup option will limit the damage. Remember that even when you think that your data is gone forever, specialist companies will be able to retrieve files for you through methods such as remote raid recovery.
Destroy paper records – If possible, refuse to print off paper records, and if you must have a paper trail, ensure a shredder destroys all records.
Strong passwords – Always create strong passwords that are not easy to guess, and which have a mixture of letters, numbers and capitals. You should never share your passwords with anyone, and you should never write down your passwords in case someone finds them.
Update software – Keeping your software updated with the latest version will help to prevent cyber attacks, so make sure that you update as soon as the relevant update is available. Invest in antivirus software to boost your PC’s defense.
Don’t use untrusted websites – Certain websites are highly prone to viruses, for example, illegal streaming websites. Avoid untrusted sites, particularly if you are making financial transactions of any kind.
Protect files and documents – For highly sensitive data files you should have added measures of security. To do this, you can set up permissions for access to a certain file, or you can password protect a document. If you are ever sharing data via email, you should use encryption tools to protect the information that you are sending.
Seek guidance – The government, as well as numerous regulators, provide online resources and advice on how to make your business more secure. You should dedicate some time in your schedule to review your current security processes and assess whether they can be improved from using the online guidance.
If you have staff working for your business, make sure that they are also following the correct data security processes, as this might mean that you need to have them undergo some training.
It might feel like a lot of work and effort, but if it can help prevent the risk of a cyber attack, it will be more than worthwhile. Use the Federal Trade Commission’s website to find out more about what your business should be doing to keep your data secure.