How To Improve Business Security in 10 Simple Steps

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Are you looking to improve your business security to ensure the safety of your data? Do you have a small to medium-sized business that you need to keep safe from cyberattacks? If you are and you do, read below to learn more about what you need to do to improve your business security.

Cyberattacks to small businesses make up 43% of cyberattacks. While small businesses don't have the data of millions of clients, the damage is no smaller.

How much damage can this cause? Small businesses spend an average of $1.43 million in damage and theft plus $1.56 million in disrupted operations.

No small to medium-sized business (SMB) owner wants to get doubled down like that. This guide will show you what you can do so you can protect your business. Keep reading to learn more about ten steps you can take to improve the security of your business.

1. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

One of the easiest and most effective forms of ensuring your business safety is the two-factor authentication. This nifty, little process won't take more than five minutes to enable. You can do this for your business apps, emails, bank account, and more.

This two-step verification is also quite simple to use. All you need to do is to provide a phone number or an email. You can also install an app that will allow you to use the two-factor authentication for apps that don't provide it.

What it does is that it will ask for a confirmation from your phone or email after you sign in with your password. You may receive a one-time password (OTP) to use as a second password. You may also only have to press a button to confirm that it's you who is logging into the account.

This step is simple yet effective against hackers. A hacker can learn the password you use for your Google account, for example. Yet, they can never know how to authenticate their entry into your account from your phone.

2. Change Usernames and Passwords Often and Keep Those Changes Private

This security tip gets told so often that it should be a habit by now. Yet, this step often gets put aside in favor of hectic scheduling and errands. This poses a threat to your business, especially if you've got employees with bad intentions.

Most breaches are insider threats. Worse is that the number of internal error-related breaches number doubles every year. Now, how will you begin protecting your business from the people you depend on to work for you?

The solution is to change your passwords often and to do it in secret. Keep the information about password changes within those who need to use it. Also, tell those people to avoid divulging any information about such changes. People from other departments who hear about the changes in the system can be your downfall.

Change passwords and usernames at least once every 90 days. Tell your employees to do the same thing if you gave them accounts for the system.

3. Secure Your Router

Placing your router in a location that anybody can access is asking for trouble. Remember that your Wi-Fi router is the gate to your connection to the internet. If you don't secure this gate, others may open it to push threats into your system.

Hackers use the devices you use for your Wi-Fi network to hack into your Wi-Fi. From there, they can then pick up any data from mobile phones and computers. All they need to do is to flip the reset button on the Wi-Fi router.

If you want to take out this risk, make sure you secure your router. You don't need to put up security patrols to guard your Wi-Fi router. Instead, make sure it's in an area that's well-hidden, locked, or out of reach.

You may also want to invest in a VPN to help keep your local traffic encrypted.

A VPN or Virtual Private Network will protect the privacy of your business and its users. It blocks the activities you do in the business in key areas so outsiders can't access it. Without a VPN, hackers can see what you're doing on your phone, computer, and security systems.

4. Always Delete Unused Accounts

Let's say you've tried to create a website with Shopify once already. It was three years ago when you were still learning the basics of e-commerce. Now, you've used the same password for a new business account with obvious signs of having the same origin.

It's easy to forget about the account you created three years ago. However, a hacker can find this information during his or her research on your business. Later, the hacker can get into the old account and then use it to hack into your current business account.

Do you see the danger here? The obvious solution is to delete the old account. Make sure you take out the possible keys a hacker can use to enter your system.

Don't worry about losing any old files. Back them up into a cloud if you need to. Later if you have to get a new account, just open one up. As always, it's better to be safe than sorry.

5. Install a Firewall on Your Network to Ensure Business Security

Every computer or device you use in your business must have a firewall. The firewall acts as the control tower for cybersecurity. It is what will decide which data is secure and will let them into your system.

Your firewall won't only block out harmful and potential threats. It will also flag up network problems. A good firewall quarantines a problem while it waits for your go signal that the data or access is secure.

The firewall is one of the most essential security systems for businesses. It will provide secure access to your site or cloud. It can tell if a person is accessing your system from within the office or from a mobile location.

When you pick a firewall for your business, consider a few things. First, consider the bandwidth, services to get outsourced, and access to the network. Once you know more about your business' operations, consider the security technology that fits your needs.

Every small business needs to install a firewall and antivirus software. If you're a solopreneur, consider the Windows Defender or OS X Application Firewall. If you're managing a medium-sized business, a firewall router is a tech that best fits your needs.

6. Invest in a Security Software That Tests for Weaknesses

A great way to make sure that you know where your weaknesses are is to use security software to look for them. You can find a variety of software options for this function online. You can also talk to security companies who can recommend software and programs for you.

If you don't have the time to contact a security company, then get an antivirus and antimalware program. This is the easiest and quickest way to ensure that your work computers are secure and safe. Remember to install the same anti-malware and antivirus on all the terminals in the workplace.

Small businesses are especially vulnerable positions. Many SMB owners think their businesses are too small to become the targets of hackers. Thus, they feel compliant with their less-than-ideal security standards.

Always assume that your business is at risk of cyber danger. Invest in antivirus software like McAfee, Norton, or Avast. These security brands offer solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.

7. Communicate With Remote Stations

With the emergence of the pandemic, businesses had to adopt a remote working system.  42% of the US labor force is working from home full-time. Some companies created a system by having both full-time on-site and remote workers.

The problem with having remote offices is that they become vulnerable to cyberattacks. Before late 2019, such remote stations included remote security monitoring stations only. Now, you also have to think about the security of the computers your employees use at home.

A useful tip to keeping company data secure is to avoid public or open Wi-Fi connections. It's always smarter to use a personal hotspot to connect to the internet. If one must connect to a public Wi-Fi router, make sure that person is using encryption software.

It also helps to keep work data only on work computers. This keeps the family members of the employee from accessing their work. If that isn't possible, tell your employees to encrypt or lock work data on their home computer.

8. Train Your Employees In the Proper Ways to Deal With Security Issues

Employee training is essential to correct and quick correspondence against data breaches. Human error is a consistent cause of failure in security and success. You can't remove it, but you can reduce it by a wide margin with proper employee training.

Help your employees do their jobs better by arming them with the knowledge to handle threats. Show them how to use a VPN. Teach them to identify what phishing and spear-phishing attacks look like.

If you have a chief of security to handle these things, let him share his knowledge. This won't only make the business safer and more secure. It will also keep you from situations where you'll say, "If only I taught my employee this or that."

If it's possible, make one person responsible for overseeing security. Pick a longstanding, trustworthy employee to take care of your business's security. He or she doesn't need to be a cybersecurity expert, but some knowledge in the field will help.

That person's responsibilities include tracking and monitoring who knows what security information. He also is a point of contact for service providers like security system maintenance. If someone needs to update keyholder information, that is your chief of security, too.

9. Always Update Your Software and Security Devices

Did you know that 55% of executives say they'll pay hackers to recover stolen data from ransomware attacks? The problem is that not all SMBs need to go through this experience. You can skip out on that problem by keeping all your software and programs up to date.

Updates and new patches don't only offer to give you new features or improvements. Your software needs to get updated because these updates carry new security solutions. The programmers will include answers to common security problems in their software.

It's best to get your programs updated as soon as you see that one is available. You must make sure that all your security programs get the latest updates as soon as possible. Remember, they're your first line of security against malware and computer viruses.

Most updates take only a few minutes to finish. The time you take to update your programs and system is always better than using it later to deal with a data breach.

10. Keep a Crisis Management Plan

Are you prepared for the worst things that can happen to your business security-wise?

This final step is one of the most important ones you mustn't skip out on. Have a crisis management plan to act as your guide when a security breach does occur. If all else fails, then the best way for you to get through a security breach is to handle it right.

This plan will tell you and your employees how to react to different scenarios. It will give details on the steps you must take to reduce the damages from a breach. It will tell you what actions and assets to prioritize.

At least once or twice a year, review and update the plan. If you've made changes to your operations, make sure it reflects in your crisis management plan, too.

Ensure the Security of Your Business

That ends our ten-step guide on how to protect your business. We hope you found this post useful, informative, and helpful. We also wish you the best for your business ventures and strategies.

Do you still want to learn some more about how you can improve your security? Don't stop at these simple steps. Check out the rest of our guides on taking advanced steps in improving business security.

 

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