Technology has become an indispensable tool for many businesses. The practicality and convenience provided by tech products allow companies to grow and become more competitive without breaking the bank. As more businesses increasingly rely on technology, business owners must also start recognizing the importance of protecting themselves from cyber threats, particularly, data theft.
Many SME entrepreneurs mistakenly think that they are not vulnerable to data theft because they are too small to be targeted. However, cyber criminals often target these smaller businesses because they don’t normally have the same security protocols bigger corporations would typically have. While it is highly recommended for business owners to consult with IT experts on ways to protect their data, there are easy methods that they can implement to secure their business tech. Here are some examples.
Installing an anti-malware program is probably the most basic type of protection business owners can do to protect their tech assets from malicious software like computer viruses, adware, ransomware, and other threats. However, many people still disregard the benefit of anti-malware protection. Many business owners are guilty of letting their anti-malware programs expire and they never take the time to renew the software licence.
Anti-malware programs are very useful in providing real-time protection because they scan incoming network data for any threats and help stop and block these threats. This will prevent viruses and other malware from being installed in machines and devices.
Having an anti-malware is very useful as a frontline protection especially if a business has many employees who receive numerous emails in a day. In many instances, malware sneak into an office network through malicious emails that are too enticing not to open. However, even if business owners and IT managers educate employees not to click on these emails, this advice may not be that effective. This is because according to laptop security statistics, 78% of people claim to be aware of the risks of unknown links in emails, yet click on these links anyway
Ransomware is a type of malware that hackers use to hold hostage a company’s data. In such cases, the data will be encrypted and inaccessible until a ransom is paid or their demands are met. For businesses that rely heavily on their data, such as medical facilities and government agencies, being victim to a ransomware attack can cripple their operations.
Backing up their data on cloud storage can help protect businesses from ransomware because it could allow business owners from still having access to their data. Cloud storage solutions can serve an offsite backup for a company’s data. Whether the data is small or huge, cloud providers usually offer flexible storage options to suit different business needs. For solo and small entrepreneurs, free solutions such as Google Drive is very accessible and easy to use. For companies looking for more secure and sophisticated options, there are free and paid Google Drive alternatives that offer advanced features.
Access Control Policies
Countless of cyber-security breaches were caused by human error. Laptops of employees are often connected to the office network so if one machine is compromised due to the mistake of one person, there is the risk of the entire network from being affected.
These scenarios can be avoided by enforcing strict access control policies. It is important to understand that access management is different from access control. Access management provides information on who accessed the data and when, on the other hand, access control refers to controlling or limiting which users are granted access to a set of data.
Access control policies should be enforced, especially if the company employ temporary workers who come and go. Internally, access to sensitive and confidential data should be limited to relevant members of staff. Business departments should only have access to the data relevant to their own department. For instance, a graphic designer should not have access to the financial files of a company.
Even within the same department, equal access should not be provided to every single employee. This means that an entry-level accountant should not have the same level of access as the chief financial officer.
Using data encryption gives another layer of security to a company’s data. This means that in case hackers gain access to confidential information, it will be more difficult for them to open and use what they have stolen because they will need an encryption key first.
There are several free and paid data encryption software available for download. These programs do not cost a lot of money but can help in giving business owners additional peace of mind that their data is safer whether it is stored or in transit.
Regular Software Updates
Many users often disregard software updates and consider them as an inconvenience. These notifications are usually ignored and forgotten. However, these updates are actually necessary in securing tech devices and programs.
While it is true that developers often use software updates to provide improvements and additional features to an application or a device, what many people do not realize is that these updates are also utilized to fix security issues discovered by developers. A device or computer with outdated software and applications runs the risk of being vulnerable to cyber threats.
To avoid software updates from becoming an inconvenience, business owners can schedule these updates during off-peak hours. This way, notifications will not pop-up in the middle of the workday. If there are major updates, however, that will affect the entire operating system of a phone, device or a computer, it is recommended to wait for at least a couple of days before doing the update. The reason for this is to avoid bugs that the new software might have. After a couple of days, check again whether the software update is safe to download.
Prioritizing Business Data Security
Data security should be a priority for any business, big or small. As long as a business regularly collect, use, and process data, they have a responsibility to keep these data secure from malicious threats. This practice will also go a long way in protecting a company’s reputation and financial standing.