In today’s world of accelerating technological advancements, it’s almost hard to imagine a small business not using technology. However, as a small business owner, you may find it increasingly difficult to keep pace with current trends. Yet technology is too important a piece for you to leave out of your business jigsaw puzzle. If you do your best to stay on top of technological changes, your business will grow faster, much faster than your competitors in the marketplace. This difference will be on many orders of magnitude.
There is a good reason why tech companies have valuations in millions or billions. It’s because they are pushing the future. While your small company may not be part of the tech sector, you cannot afford to ignore the technological revolution sweeping across the world. If you do, your business will go the way of the dinosaurs because it will be too slow to bring your products to market.
However, it’s not enough to just use the best advances in hardware and the latest innovation in software — without also including cybersecurity. This should play a pivotal role in your technological-centric plans for business growth. It is a key strategy to protect vital sectors of your business: your operations, your HR information, your vendor information, and your customer’s information.
5 Ways to Set Up Cybersecurity
Here, then, are five guidelines on how to initiate a cybersecurity strategy in your business:
1. Get all your employees onboard.
If an employee touches a computer, even if he or she is merely running a POS to check out customer’s purchases in the front room or tracking new inventory in the back room, they need to be trained on security principles.
This training should include information on how to set up password protection. Strong passwords, for example, should have a minimum of 8 characters and use lower-case, upper-case, numbers, and symbols.
It training should also include appropriate guidelines on how and when to use the Internet, enter in customer information, and protect all vital data.
These rules should not merely be mentioned or signed off on a document, but strictly enforced, with penalties for violating them. Remember, all it takes is one stolen credit card information or a single lost employee file for your company to be sued. Even if you are protected by good business insurance, the lawsuit will still hurt your business reputation.
2. Protect your computer and your local area network from hackers.
Don’t underestimate the possibility of a hacker attacking your small eCommerce website, even if you have little on it for someone to steal. Sometimes hackers merely want to hijack a server to use to send out spam all over the world.
So keep your machines clean. Install the best product security for virus protection, which Trend Micro recommends be implemented for PCs, Macs, mobile devices, email, web activity, and file sharing. Protect your web browser from accumulating malicious adware code. And don’t use unsupported, outdated operating systems to save costs, because you will not be able to download the latest security patches.
3. Use firewalls.
Firewalls protect your Internet connection. A firewall will stop a hacker from combing through the information circulating in your private network. Most operating systems come with a firewall, but you have to make sure that it is enabled.
Also, if you or your employees are connecting to your business network from home, make sure that those computers, too, have firewall protection.
4. Treat BOYD with caution.
It is now fashionable for companies to allow employees to bring their own Internet-based device to work with them. This is often referred to as Bring Your Own Device or variations of that term. Unfortunately, mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets, as well as wearable devices like smartwatches and Google Glasses, pose security threats to a network.
If you do allow BOYD, then ask users to protect their devices with passwords, encryption of all company related data, and installation of security apps. This will prevent the theft of information from the employee’s device when it is on a public network.
5. Make regular backups of all your important company information.
Do backups at least once a week and store the information on a cloud or offsite.
Here is a brief list of criticall files to backup:
- word processing documents,
- electronic spreadsheets,
- financial files,
- human resources files,
- accounts receivable files,
- accounts payable files
Ride the Technology Wave with Caution
Technology bestows two huge benefits to any small business: first, it increases market reach, which is important for improved sales; and second, it makes every aspect of a business more efficient, which is essential for business productivity. You need both to help your business grow at a rapid rate –and, you also need to protect your infrastructure with sufficient cybersecurity measures.