Small businesses employ more people and account for a larger share of the market than any one large corporation, but they have less access to the best tools and resources for security than the big boys. This can lead to an incredible amount of stolen data, compromised financial information and bankrupt companies. Evaluating and improving your company’s security plans for online and offline transactions is an excellent way to reduce risk.
Cyber Security as a Service
As more and more technology becomes available to businesses and individuals as services, the as-a-Service industry has exploded. You can find Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, and even platforms and cyber security as services. One of these is Secure Access Service Edge, also called SASE and pronounced: “sassy.” This type of service combines network capabilities and security to strengthen both without compromising data, and it is becoming the next big thing in online security. By outsourcing some of your security needs, you can access the best and newest tech without the overhead of building and updating an entire security team onsite.
Employee Training and Device Plans
Your security system is only as strong as the people using it. You can invest millions in the latest and greatest gadgets and still have a data breach if you store your computer password on a sticky note on the monitor. Training your employees to create and store secure passwords, what protocols to follow when handling data and even how to use personal devices onsite can boost even the most rudimentary security system. It is important to remember that if you use your device on an unsecured network, malware can be secretly downloaded to it. Using the same device on a secure network will transfer the malware to that system. This process is how many seemingly safe companies experience ransomware and data theft. Having a plan for the proper use of personal and company devices is essential to this training, and requiring employees to sign a document stating that they understand the policy and will follow it can save you from potential liability.
Physical Security and Backups
It also pays to evaluate and upgrade your physical security and your information backup plans when increasing your cyber security. For instance, if your company data is backed up with physical files, you will want to ensure that access to that information is restricted to authorized personnel. Experts recommend using multifactor authentication to get into secure rooms, computers and cloud storage. It is also recommended that you have three backups of sensitive data, two digital and one physical, and that they be stored in different places.
Up-To-Date Software and Hardware
Keeping your software updated allows for security and functionality patches from the developers to boost your capabilities on and offline. With the limitations of older hardware, it is also advised that you update your system and devices regularly. Many data breaches occur because a malicious actor has found an exploit in a piece of outdated software and used that to gain access to the network and data storage.
Limited and Administrative Privileges
Along with updating your passwords, software and hardware, you must update your privileges and permissions routinely. For physical security, this means limiting the number of keys available and retrieving each set as employees leave the company. For cyber security, updating your privileges and permissions includes changing passwords every time management changes, removing permissions when employees change positions and limiting administrative rights to as few people as possible.
As cyber security becomes more of a concern for businesses of all sizes, many products and services are becoming more affordable and available. You can even subscribe to a security service for less than it would take to build an onsite security department with the same features and access provided. Many of the tips and tricks small businesses can use to increase their cyber security are the same as those used by mega-corporations, just on a smaller scale.