Your small business is at risk. There’s no way to sugar coat it and no way to say it any more plainly. Every day there are criminals targeting businesses.
Because they want your money, they want your private data, or they just want to cause trouble for you.
It doesn’t matter what they want. The scary thing is that they can do immense damage to your company in a very short window of time. If ransomware takes control of and encrypts your data, your only recourse is to pay the criminals. But what if you could get ahead of the criminals and enact nine strategies that will enhance your company’s cybersecurity posture?
It’s time to take a stand and act BEFORE the bad guys do their damage. These nine cybersecurity tips will help your business be proactive regarding your IT security.
#1 – Strengthen Your Payment Gateway With Card Best Practices
Your bank and credit card issuers can help you tremendously in the area of IT security for credit and debit cards. They will help you by supplying many of the tools that you need to validate cards and ensure that the cards you process haven’t been compromised by fraud.
Part of the credit/debit card cybersecurity best practices is the practice of isolation. By putting your payment systems on a separate computer – even a separate internet connection – then the computers you use for internet use, you lower the risk.
Another best practice that revolves around keeping up with cybersecurity technology is the move from magnetic strip readers to chip card or EMV readers. These new EMV readers are now the industry standard, and even small businesses need to comply with this new payment security measure.
#2 – Backup Everything
Your business cannot operate effectively without access to your data. If you don’t back it up, your data may not be there for you when you need it the most. A busy office creates thousands of files each day, and the secure backup of these files needs to be a part of your company’s cybersecurity strategy.
Backups should be made at least daily and mirrored in the cloud or an offsite server.
Backup should be overseen by an IT support and IT security professional. Companies like us have the cybersecurity experts that are proficient in handling automatic, secure data backup and recovery for companies large and small.
#3 – Get Your Physical Access Points Secured
If the bad guys – even bad employees – can just walk into any office in the building and access computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones, you’re not even close to having bulletproof cybersecurity.
You need to ensure that your devices are protected by two-factor authentication and that you use door locks and more sophisticated electronic access systems to prevent entry by unauthorized individuals.
Everyone in the company should have their own secure passwords, and admin privileges should only be given to the actual network administrator.
#4 – Have Structured Procedures In Place For Mobile Devices
The mobile devices that your company employees use can present some unique problems when it comes to cybersecurity. IT security experts routinely point to unsecured mobile devices as the vulnerability used by cyber-criminals to gain access to company networks.
Make sure your employees use passwords to protect their smartphones and tablets. Contact an IT security professional – like our cybersecurity experts – to help you with data encryption, secure file synchronization, and secure network access. Cybersecurity experts can help you protect your data with remote wipe capability if your phone is lost or stolen.
#5 – Secure Your Entire Website
Everyone knows that their sign up forms and check out pages need to be secure, but what about the rest of your company’s website?
We’ve all had the experience of going to a business site, only to find that it has been hacked and taken over by malicious cyber-criminals.
Don’t let it happen to you.
Implement antivirus and anti-spyware software on your computers
Do all the updates, upgrades, and patches issued by your operating system developer
Bring in an IT security professional to do a vulnerability assessment on a regular basis
#6 – Lock Down Your Networks
Your network connects all your devices, the internet, and your peripheral devices (like printers). Each device is a point at which a criminal could gain access. Here are some tips.
Your internet connection isn’t safe unless you are utilizing a monitored firewall and leveraging the power of encryption.
Make sure to hide your company WiFI and use controlled access to customer WiFi.
Password protect your router.
Disconnect any WiFi enabled devices that you don’t regularly use and security check.
#7 – Put Policies in Place to Secure Private Data
Your employees should know what the IT security policies of the company are and how to deal with private information. But they won’t unless you specifically take the time and invest in cybersecurity awareness training.
Once you have done the training, they should be aware of and be held responsible for following IT security protocols.
#8 – Employees Are Your First Line Of Defense Against Cyber-Criminals
Employees want to help you secure your business against cyber-crime, but often don’t know that they are letting the bad guys in the front door.
By training your employees on topics like phishing, social engineering, ransomware, spyware, and adware, you can drastically reduce your risk.
Following that training, employ and cyber security professional to run tests on your employees’ ability to spot these scams and intrusion attempts.
#9 – Leverage Strong Passwords And Multi-Factor Identification
Your staff should be instructed on what makes for a good password. Better yet, hire an IT security professional to set up multi-factor identification and single sign-on strategies for your business. These cybersecurity tactics can help your employees be more efficient while enabling a higher degree of security for your company.
Looking for IT security experts to help your business avoid intrusions, disruptions, and costly downtime?
Brian Gray, MCP, is the President at Kraft Technology Group, LLC (KTG), an affiliate of KraftCPAs PLLC. Within his role, Brian is responsible for all aspects of service delivery to our clients. Brian has a decade of experience working for managed service providers. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including financial services, accounting, legal, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.