Are You Protecting Your Small Business Data?
Running your small business keeps you busy. There’s never enough time, and you probably wish you could clone yourself at least once to get everything done. While you’re doing your best to get things done and grow your small business, you probably aren’t thinking much about the security of your small business data. Unfortunately, putting security on the back burner can lead to significant issues that can cripple your small business. What should you keep in mind to keep your data safe?
Password is not a Safe Password
Passwords are the first line of defense for your data so you want to select secure passwords that can’t be easily guessed. For example, if someone can guess the password for your email, they can potentially reset the passwords for your other accounts. It becomes a slippery slope that will cause a catastrophe for your small business data. To avoid this, you want to use strong passwords for all your accounts. Security solution Norton suggests using passwords that are more than eight characters, use upper, lower case characters and numbers. It is also recommended to not use single words, names, phone numbers, birthdates or social security numbers.
It seems like everywhere we go now there are Wi-Fi networks available. While it’s convenient, it’s not always safe. Accessing or sharing sensitive information on an open Wi-Fi network, such as at a café or airport can make your data vulnerable to be being obtained by an unauthorized third party. To be safe, only access or share information on secure networks, those that require you to enter a password. While using a public network, it’s important to disable sharing and turn on a firewall to protect your small business data.
Mind Your Sources
Downloading programs, files, music or images can be risky. Malicious software can be embedded in those files only to spring to life silently once they have been downloaded to your computer. Clicking links within emails can be equally as dangerous. The emails may look like they come from a friend or an institution that you do business with can contain hazardous links that are activated when clicked. Be sure to only download files from known and reputable sources. Be wary of links sent via email, especially when it’s out of character for the sender. When an unscrupulous person sends an email as an attempt to obtain your login credentials, it’s known as phishing. It seems unlikely that you would fall for it, but phishing emails can look deceivingly similar to legitimate emails. If your bank or other company you do business with sends you a link, don’t click it but go directly to their website to log in. Never enter your login information to a site accessed via a link.
Be Careful of Who You Let In
There comes a time when you need help. If you bring on additional individuals that will have access to sensitive information, its suggested to complete a background check. This can prevent you from sharing information with someone with ulterior motives and a criminal background.
Don’t leave Your Devices Out
Many companies have had their files unlawfully accessed after a device was stolen. While this reinforces the idea that having strong passwords is necessary, it also shows the importance of not leaving devices where they can be taken. Cars parked outside of restaurants during lunch, unattended bags at airports or cars parked outside of homes overnight can all be easily accessed by those with malicious intent. Be sure to bring devices with you, or within your sight to prevent them from being stolen.
Protecting your small business data doesn’t have to be expensive, but each step that you take to prevent your data becoming compromised will save time and money in the long run. Avoiding a data breach is much less costly than recovering data, and recovering from the fallout, especially if customer data is involved.