As the business world continues to evolve and more people work from home, the prospect of cybercrime becomes a more significant issue than ever before. As a small business, you are also at risk, because just like the major retailers, you also store customer data, and hackers want it.
If you have not yet invested in proper security measures or at least educated your team on the risks, then your organization could be in danger. Let’s talk about the threat of cybercrime and how to stay protected.
Many new entrepreneurs believe that they are too small of a fish to be the target of cybercrime, but the opposite is actually true. Hackers may target your small business because they know that you don’t feel at risk, and even if you do know the dangers, the hackers are also well aware that you may not have the proper resources to keep their attacks at bay.
The fact is that every company has confidential corporate and customer data, and any piece of information, from a social security number to an email address, can be used to commit identity fraud or be sold on the black market. While the embarrassment of falling victim to a breach is bad enough, it is the aftermath that could really mean the end of your company.
When customers catch wind that your organization did not properly secure their data, they may lose trust in your company and move on, and you may never get them back. In addition to the lost revenue, you could end up paying out a lot of money to repair any vulnerabilities in your systems, fend off lawsuits, and rebuild your reputation. Needless to say, you need to improve your cybersecurity measures today.
The first step to protecting your small business is to talk to your team about the current threats that range from phishing emails and malware to the vulnerabilities created by using weak passwords. Whenever a new employee is brought onto the team, they should be provided with cybersecurity training, and then they should be required to sign off on a form that confirms what they learned so you can refer to it later on.
While hackers have tons of technical expertise, getting your company’s private info can sometimes be as easy as sifting through your trash, so proper disposal is key. When discarding old computers or mobile devices that you no longer use, they cannot simply be thrown out. Instead, their hard drives must be properly destroyed by an industrial shredding company that can ensure that the drives cannot be used again.
Cybersecurity is especially important if you have remote employees who use their own equipment from home. If they get a virus on their personal computer and they email an infected file to their work computer, then the hacker will gain access to your corporate system. Remind remote employees to separate work and personal devices and to report any issues immediately.
Now that you and your team understand the risks, it is time to put some smart procedures in place to protect your systems against a potential attack. Start by ensuring that everyone uses complex passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. For extra security, pair that with a form of two-factor authentication like a fingerprint scan or a code sent to their phone.
You should also ensure that every computer and device, both in the office and in the home of remote employees, are equipped with antivirus software. Scans should be run multiple times per week to catch any issues. Pair this program with a strong and protective firewall. Both of these programs should be updated whenever a new version becomes available so you can fight off the newest threats.
Put all of the protections mentioned here into a cybersecurity checklist that you should refer to wherever you bring on a new employee. Make sure they meet every requirement on the list so your company can be truly protected.
As you can see, it is crucial that your small business is safe from the threat of cybercrime. Take these simple steps today, and you can have confidence in the security of your organization.