Security Essentials Small Businesses

5 Security Essentials for Small Businesses

Small businesses are not immune to security breaches. In fact, the size of the organization does not matter in most of the security attacks. Automated hacking penetrates vulnerabilities and does not target a specific organization.

With constraints in finances, most small businesses do not invest in security systems. They also postpone having an IT administrator until they can afford to have one. Most of these small companies operate in ad-hoc. Their security vulnerabilities are high-risk.

Business owners must not take security matters lightly. A simple attack could affect the business and their customers. Thus, there is a need to understand the basics of security solutions. Best practices are available to reduce the vulnerability to the costly security breaches.

Enable a Firewall

Firewall is one of an essential security solution for small businesses. It protects the network from internet hackers, viruses, and worms. You can control access by blocking IP addresses and access to specific domain names. The firewall can also scan each packet of information to filter content. You can block any word or sentences.

Allowing employees to work-from-home puts the small businesses to possible attacks. Make sure that your employees have firewalls installed on their computers at home. Working from home without a firewall opens some security risks to your business.

Install Anti-virus and Anti-Malware

Firewall blocks unauthorized access, but it cannot remove viruses from infected systems. Adding anti-virus and anti-malware software strengthens the resistance to security attacks.

Schedule regular scanning of software installed in your system. Make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware are up-to-date. Scan all external devices before using them in your network. Make this as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for everyone to follow.

Every employee must report any suspicious operation on their computers. This practice prevents viruses and malware from spreading across the organization. Be sure to isolate the machine in question immediately.

Define Control Access and Use Password Manager

There are areas in your company that need physical security. Install biometrics in your company doors. Consider your HR, Accounting, and server rooms as restricted areas. Choose an area for guests away from these restricted areas.

Only authorized employees can do software installation. Define access levels like Administrators and Users. Administrators can access all data. Ordinary users have only access to data related to their work.  Having access levels also answers confidentiality issues in the company.

If you have several projects with different clients, it’s good to have a password manager. Password manager ensures access even in the absence of the assigned employee.  Imagine if your senior guy is on sick leave for an extended period.

Educate your people on the importance of protecting passwords.  Choosing a secure password is critical. Avoid using dictionary words but have a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. The use of multi-factor authentication also strengthens the digital security of your company.

Schedule Regular Backups

Regular server backup is critical to the business. Decide on the frequency of the backup schedule. It could be daily for more critical data, or weekly for non-critical. Having a remote cloud backup is more cost-effective. Be sure to assign somebody to check if the automatic backup is happening as scheduled.

Have simple documentation on ‘How to Restore Backups.’ Conduct a practice on restoring backups. When the attack happens, the person assigned is already familiar with the steps to do. If you don’t have a dedicated IT staff, be sure that you have contact with people who can restore the backup for you. When you are under attack, every minute counts. Your business continuity depends on your pre-attack preparation.

Establish a Security Policy

Most small companies start with an ad-hoc operation. They only document their Security Policy when a client requires it.

The best practice is to draft a simple Security Policy even at the initial stage of the company.  All employees must understand the importance of securing data. They will not question why external USB devices need scanning before using them. Or, why they need to use multi-authentication passwords.

Emphasize the importance of data security during employee onboarding.  Update the policies as the organization continues to grow. Be aware of the latest threats and how to shield your company from possible attacks.

Conclusion

Security attacks do not spare small businesses. Business owners need to presume possible attacks and prepare for it. The key is education, prevention, and preparation in case of attack.

The use of a firewall is essential along with the use of anti-virus and anti-malware. Proper access control and password management are also necessary. Outline a simple Security Policy for the employees to adhere.

Emphasize that security is the responsibility of everybody. Without preventive actions and preparation, a simple attack could paralyze a business. Securing the business from digital threats is one way of managing business continuity.

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