Every small business owner should be concerned about security, especially if they lack an in-house IT team. A business’ size has nothing to do with its vulnerability, and it’s a good idea to take precautions. With these simple steps, you’ll keep your networks and devices running smoothly while keeping your customers’ data secure.
Protect Against Theft
Malware, phishing attempts, and social engineering have one goal: to steal passwords and usernames. Information theft leaves your company open to a range of problems, and because anyone can be duped, the most effective strategy is to ensure that it doesn’t cause a catastrophe. Compartmentalize data by:
- Using different passwords for each system and application. That way, if a password is stolen, the attacker can only get so far.
- Keeping track of login info with a password manager that synchronizes across desktops, laptops, and mobile devices
- Considering the use of two-factor authentication, especially for financial services.
By following these tips, it makes it much harder for hackers to steal your (and your customers’) sensitive information.
Keep Up With Software Updates and Security Patches
There are always new security alerts, but old ones still rear their heads from time to time. Most people don’t fall victim to the newest threat; they are compromised by something that’s months or years old, simply because they’re not using the current software version. Whether you’re dealing with desktops, laptops, or smartphones, enable automatic updates for applications and operating systems.
Lock Mobile Devices and Wipe Them When Necessary
As many already know, smartphones are easily stolen or lost. Most of us leave our social networking and emails logged in at all times, and because of that, it’s important to put a PIN or a passcode on each company device. While longer passcodes are better than shorter ones, four to six digits is the optimal length. Consider using biometrics, such as face or fingerprint recognition, when possible, and avoid gesture passcodes as they’re easy to steal. Most MDM tools have remote wiping and remote locking features built-in; if you have a mobile device management program running, use it to ensure that every device user has a passcode, auto wipe with multiple failed attempts, and auto lock activated. Some of these tools also have a ‘find my phone’ feature, which can help employees find misplaced devices before they get into the wrong hands.
Think Before Connecting
Mobile devices can quickly switch between cellular and Wi-Fi networks, but these come with different security risks. The wireless network in your building, if it’s protected by passwords and usernames, is likely pretty safe. Open Wi-Fi networks are another matter; every time you step out of the office and onto a public network, your traffic can easily be monitored and intercepted.
The safest strategy, apart from using a free VPN, is to stay on a mobile data network as much as possible when out and about. Don’t be lured in by free Wi-Fi access; if necessary, invest in a bigger data plan so you can stay connected. Unless you’re watching videos or doing other data-intensive tasks, you’re not likely to go over your data limit. And, if you’re paying for multiple corporate devices, you can usually find a plan that allows data pooling, making those pesky overage charges less of a problem.
Security is important for businesses of all sizes, but small business owners have unique concerns to consider. With these easy tips, business owners like you can improve security for your employees’ smartphones, laptops, and desktops, and you can focus on daily operations while worrying less about keeping your company secure.