It isn’t hard to see why small businesses are such a common target for cybercriminals. Between confidential client records, important financial information, and other potentially valuable data, many small businesses represent treasure troves for ambitious cyber-crooks. In some cases, a single cyberattack is all it takes to throw a business’s security apparatus into disarray and compromise its defenses. As such, it behooves all small business owners to keep cybersecurity nice and tight within their respective enterprises.
Keep All Operating Systems Up to Date
Whether your business runs on Windows, macOS or a combination thereof, it is imperative that you keep your operating system(s) up to date. Many security updates are created as direct responses to new or emerging cyber threats, and the longer you take to install pertinent updates, the more vulnerable your business’s devices – and data – are likely to be. With this in mind, make a point of installing O.S. updates as they become available and requiring all employees to do the same on their work-issued devices. While taking a few minutes to install system updates can be a bit cumbersome, this minor inconvenience stands to save your business a considerable amount of time, money and hassle.
Utilize a VPN
In the fight to protect your business’s information, a good virtual private network (VPN) can be an invaluable ally. Per the name, a virtual private network enables you and your employees to safely access your business’s network when connected to the internet from home or public Wi-Fi. A secure VPN can effectively prevent unwelcome third parties from detecting or interfering with your private network, so if you’ve never thought to utilize virtual private networks for security purposes, now would be the time to correct this. When seeking out a VPN that’s well-suited to your enterprise’s needs, look for ones that are popular amongst small business clients.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
To say that most public Wi-Fi networks lack the same level of security as private networks would be an understatement. As such, you and your employees should be extremely wary of accessing your business’s network via public Wi-Fi. As stated in the previous section, a VPN can help make this process more secure. However, if a non-public alternative is available, you’d do well to use it. So, in addition to only using public Wi-Fi in the absence of any alternatives and never using it without a VPN, make sure your employees follow your example.
Invest in Top-Notch Virus Protection
Every device that connects to your business’s network should be equipped with top-notch malware and virus protection. Furthermore, as is the case with operating systems, you and your employees will need to install updates as they become available to ensure maximum effectiveness. Since many antivirus programs receive multiple updates per day, you can expedite this process by enabling automatic updates. By extension, DevOps professionals looking to secure cloud native application stacks can do so with the aid of Microsoft Azure Container Instances.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
A single noncompliant employee stands to compromise even the most robust cybersecurity setup. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you and all your team members are on the same page with regard to proper security practices. In the interest of minimizing misunderstandings, strongly encourage your employees to come directly to you if there are any points on which they’re unclear.
You can also encourage employee compliance by password-protecting every work-issued device and requiring certain devices to be locked up when not in use. (Laptops, for example, are particularly common theft targets.) Additionally, take care to only grant network administrator privileges to I.T. staff who have proven themselves sufficiently responsible and trustworthy. Should any employees repeatedly fail to comply with established security protocols, disciplinary action may be in order.
Opportunistic cybercriminals regularly prey on small businesses. So, if your business’s security setup leaves anything to be desired, don’t be surprised if unsavory characters are able to get their hands on your data. Luckily, keeping cybersecurity tight within your enterprise is far from an arduous undertaking. A fair amount of follow-through and a willingness to abandon practices that no longer work can go a long way towards tightening up your cybersecurity apparatus. So, if enhanced cybersecurity is what your business seeks, put the measures discussed above to good use.