Technology has undoubtedly been beneficial to businesses of all sizes. With the promise of convenience, convergence and collaboration, we have yet to see a promising business which has an aversion to using technological tools.
Although it is tempting to get the latest trends and tools for business improvement, there are still, in my opinion, two things that may make business owners become apprehensive about: lack of budget and security breach risks. While the budget can be worked out by allotting funds to strengthen the business, security breaches are often the most overlooked.
Small businesses have as much to fear on online targeted attacks as corporation giants do, maybe even more. While big companies have data backup strategies like getting information stored across all locations, what do we small business owners and CEOs have? Data backup in the form of USBs and, God forbid, floppy disks?
The ironic thing about technology is that while it has tantalizingly great benefits, it can also bring about destruction to your business. Malicious malwares, disgruntled employees, spies, the list goes on. Nowadays, the size of your business is apparently not a deciding factor on whether you’ll be a target of a cyber-attack or not. So how does a small business protect its own data without breaking the bank?
Here are some tips:
1. Beware of social engineering. Small businesses are now becoming more reliant on social networking to market their business, we get it. But there are unscrupulous individuals out there, who have no conscience but have a persuasive and a rather influential-sounding attitude, who can trick you by saying that they’re from the so-and-so organization and start to gather sensitive information from you. Social networks are a playground for these types of people and if we’re not careful, we can be one of those who get played.
2. Use a secure pass phrase. You would be surprised how many people just leave clues everywhere on what their password is. According to Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, passwords are dead. The security of critical information is just too important and passwords just don’t seem to keep it in such a high regard. A pass phrase may be an unforgettable line from your favorite movie or a line from a favorite song. Basically you want just a long string of words which makes it hard for attackers to guess. And please, don’t ever write it down in a piece of paper that you’ll leave lying around or “hidden” behind your computers.
3. Be absolutely careful in disseminating information. Since your business gains traction by being more exposed to prospective clients, little do you know that you are also getting more exposed to cyber-crime. Identity theft is common and it is damaging. You would be surprised by how much damage your searchable information can inflict when it falls to the wrong hands.
Often, small organizations use free tools to secure their data. This is because investing in good security measures while necessary is just too darn expensive. Small business owners are aware of the security risks involved in running a business and more often than not, it’s the financial aspect of it that’s keeping them from using more reliable tools.