Protect Your Business from Security Risks

A lot of small business owners believe that hackers and similar high-tech criminals focus mainly on big businesses, and therefore that their own company’s assets are relatively safe.

While I’d love to tell you that this is true, it simply isn’t the case! Modern hackers often target small businesses because their security measures tend to be weaker than those of big businesses. In our increasingly digital world, one little breach could bring your company to ruin, and destroy your professional reputation. Here are some security measures that might just save your business…

Limit Access

Studies have shown time and time again that unmanaged access privileges rank among the biggest cybersecurity threats within any organisation. Despite this, many new entrepreneurs fail to set decent access limitations for certain employees, especially when a large part of the workforce is using their own devices. You may have a small and trusted workforce right now, but if you’re planning any kind of growth in the future, you’ll need to protect yourself against potential threats from within. Things like introducing an email policy and similar rules for the general use of devices, along with extra layers like regularly changed passwords or authenticators, need to be used to minimise the risk of a breach. By exercising tight control on who has privileges to run certain company apps from certain devices, you’ll be making a great first step towards protecting your business.

Layer Security

While simply putting limits on employee access is a great way to start, there’s a lot more work to be done. Good cybersecurity needs to be an ongoing project, and certainly not a one-off. The most secure businesses in the world take a layered approach to protecting their IT infrastructure. You should be performing regular, comprehensive tests for vulnerabilities to hackers and other threats. It may also be worth investing in specialised software in order to monitor any kind of abnormal web traffic, block attempted logins from unrecognised devices or unusual locations, and authenticate user activities in real time using device profiling and behavioural analysis. At the very least, you should layer in firewalls to protect external-facing web servers.

Consider Cyber Insurance

In recent years, cyber insurance policies have become an increasingly popular choice for a lot of small businesses who want to protect the credit card information they handle, along with customer names and addresses, and various other examples of sensitive data kept in their online systems. It’s pretty rare for cyber threats to come under general liability insurance, making it very important to look into the kind of coverage available to you. Just make sure you take your time to research this kind of insurance, and what your unique needs are. Cyber insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, and it can be hard to identify exactly what covers a “small” business when it comes to security. The traditional things you’d look at, such as revenue and the size of the workforce, aren’t really a good indicator of how much risk your company carries when it comes to data breaches. Small companies, depending on their niche, can have a huge amount of exposure. While cyber insurance can be a waste of money for a lot of companies, it’s important to weigh up your risk and consider taking out a policy.

Secure Devices, But Don’t Go Big Brother

When you allow your workers to use their own devices for work, you’ll still need some kind of monitoring system in order to protect the valuable company data they’re accessing. On the other hand, policies that are too Orwellian and overbearing won’t sit well with most employees for obvious reasons. Securing personal devices requires a delicate balancing act if you want your staff to carry on trusting you. Start off slow, by implementing a privacy policy that will allow you to monitor work-related functions on personal devices. This is where it should stop. Personal communications, along with contact lists, apps and data, should all be off-limits for any kind of monitoring software. Try to stay away from any inflexible rules which involve blacklisting and blocking apps, and take steps to ensure that no personal data will be wiped without the employee’s permission. Setting up automatic security updates, requiring your staff to change their passwords regularly, and similar routines, can all be helpful for safeguarding the business without becoming too invasive. If and when a breach occurs, and an employee’s device needs to be investigated, handle it delicately, and turn to your best HR and legal minds for advice.