Cybersecurity is hardly a priority for small businesses despite most being largely data-driven. The worst part is many small business owners only fail to secure their networks because of the notion that hackers only target large corporations. However, this is misleading; any business can find itself on the receiving end of a data breach, and a robust cybersecurity strategy is imperative even for startups and small businesses. Here are five simple tips for creating a workable data safety plan for your business:
1. Invest in a VPN
All businesses need a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs serve as extra security layers to firewalls and other strategies. They also offer data encryption features, making it possible for workers to access company data via public Wi-Fi networks. According to invpn.com, a good VPN service offers multiple servers, excellent speeds, no logging features, and support for multiple devices. Consider these properties when choosing a VPN for your business and ensure the service falls within your budget frame.
2. Have a strong password strategy
Passwords are a gateway to your business devices and accounts. They provide a way for your devices to identify authorized users of your company systems. By implementing a strong password strategy, you make it even harder for unauthorized individuals from accessing and potentially compromising your data. Ensure all your passwords are long and made up of a mixture of numbers, letters, and special characters, and that you aren’t reusing an old password.
3. Use multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication protects against data breaches following a password attack. It makes use of a second device, where a login attempt can only go through if the rightful user of an account gives the go-ahead in the said device. This means that if someone gets hold of your password, they will also need to hack or have a second device to access your data.
4. Educate your employees
A cybersecurity strategy can only work if your employees know why you have it in place and their roles in keeping the business’s data safe. Consider hiring a team of experts to educate your employees and ensure all new employees are taken through comprehensive security-awareness training immediately after recruitment. Your training should cover basic security tips, internet safety, handling of sensitive customer data, password creation, and BYOD security measures.
5. Update software
No software is perfect, no matter who the developer is, which is why you keep receiving intermittent updates to your devices. While these update alerts may oftentimes be an annoyance, ignoring them for too long might plunge your business into serious cybercrime exposure. Most of the software updates released are meant to increase your software’s functionality and patch up security vulnerabilities. Do not make the mistake of ignoring them. If possible, enable the automatic updating option, so you don’t have to manually download and install the patches each time one comes out.
Your small business may not be as valuable to hackers as the leading lights and other large corporations in your industry, but it is certainly not immune to data breaches. Use the above tips to protect yourself from cybercriminals, increase workplace efficiency and productivity, and safeguard your business’s reputation.
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