How to secure your small business in the digital age
With recent security breaches at large corporations like Equifax, cybersecurity is more important than ever. As an owner of a small business, you are a prime target of hackers because of your access to customer’s personal and financial data. Don’t compromise your business’s success by overlooking the importance of cybersecurity.
Because technology can change so rapidly, it’s important to stay vigilant and up-to-date with all your online security measures. And, it’s important to have many layers of security. This ensures that even if hackers can figure out how to get through one, there are backups in place to keep your customers’ information secure. Follow these steps to keep your business’s technology as safe as possible.
Make security part of your work culture
You are the first line of defense against cyber threats. Security should be just as important to you and your employees as every other aspect of your business. Train everyone to keep information secure, no matter what role they have. Present your security policies and best practices during employee training, regularly have refresher sessions, and send out reminders for the whole business.
Lock your devices
Another first line of defense is solid password protection on all computers, smartphones, and tablets that your employees use. Require all devices to be password protected, and request periodic password changes. Use multiple authentication methods (like an extra admin password or PIN) for the information you want to keep extra safe.
Keep software and devices up-to-date
Install security software–like the AT&T Security Suite powered by McAfee®, included with all Business Internet packages–on all company computers to keep devices safe from viruses and help you avoid online dangers. In addition, make sure that your operating systems are regularly updated. Set your antivirus software to run a scan after each update, so you can find threats before they become attacks.
With cloud services, backup is easy, and encryption software helps make sure that your backups stay secure and for your eyes only. If you or your employees’ phones or computers are stolen or damaged, your data will still be safe and accessible from the cloud.
Secure all sales
Investing in a Point of Sale (POS) system is a great way to keep your customers’ financial information safe during in-store transactions. Using a POS system for sales keeps everything fully encrypted, and makes sure that customers’ credit information is not stored. Choose a cloud-based, PCI compliant POS so you can rest easy, knowing that your customers’ information is safe after you make the sale.
For online transactions, use Secure Sockets Layers (SSLs). SSL technology is the standard security technology for encrypting the link between a web server and a browser. It makes sure that all information passed between the two (such as credit card information, Social Security numbers and more) stays private. If you do any kind of online transactions, make sure that they have an SSL connection.
Consider outsourcing your security by hiring a dedicated IT person
To help keep these guidelines in place, a dedicated IT employee can be an asset to your team. When malware, hackers or other disasters strike, you’re going to want someone who can handle it. Employ an IT worker to take care of all your tech, monitor security, and stay up-to-date on the latest security technologies and potential threats. If you can’t afford a dedicated IT person, consider contracting with a computer service company.