Cyberattack? Why in the world would a small business need to make tech security a priority? Aren’t hackers only looking to steal information from large corporations like Target or Neiman Marcus? This is the mindset of many small business owners. They make several assumptions with this line of thinking. First, that their business is “too small” to be of any interest to a hacker. Secondly, that hackers are the only way in which their files can be compromised.
Lax Attitudes are Bad for Business
Making these types of assumptions will only result in bad news for your business. Lost or damaged data will lead to wasted time, decreased productivity, increased expenses, and the possibility of a ruined reputation. While larger businesses might be able to bounce back from something like that, smaller businesses are less likely to survive the costs of a data breach.
That’s why it’s simply best to be informed so that you can make the best decisions as it pertains to data security. Of course one of the best ways to get informed is to learn from the mistakes of others. Below are some of the most common mistakes small businesses make when it comes to IT security.
1. Not Preparing for the Worst – The hope is that by employing new tech security approaches, your data will be safe from harm. The reality, however, is that nothing is 100% foolproof. There is always the potential that something could go wrong, and you need to be prepared for that. Not only should you be creating a plan of action to secure and protect your data, but you should also be looking into a resolution plan such as a hard drive recovery service that can help you retrieve data quickly in the event of a disaster.
2. Not Having a Security Policy – Policies are designed to keep order and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Whether you have a staff of one or one hundred, it is imperative that you have a security policy in place. The policy needs to be detailed so that your employees know what should and should not be done with company data and devices or networks.
3. Failing to Educate Staff – To assume that your staff knows what security measures to take while utilizing company sponsored devices or networks is a big mistake. Security risks are constantly changing, and it is imperative that you keep your staff informed. Human error can quickly lead to a huge mistake that costs you thousands of dollars to repair. Investing in a security awareness program for your employees is worth it to avoid or minimize your risks.
4. Mismanagement of Accessibility – When company databases and software can be accessed by anyone, anywhere, you leave your business open to disaster. Employees, vendors, and even customers can log on to your database from virtually anywhere and cause havoc. It is best to restrict access and monitor it so that too many hands aren’t able to mess with important data.
5. Relying Solely on Consumer Grade Products – As a small business owner with a tight budget, it can be pretty tempting to use the latest free or affordable network security product on the market for consumers. After all, it’s a lot cheaper than commercial grade products. Be that as it may, when you’re collecting and storing a lot of sensitive data it is imperative that you utilize tech security products and services that are designed for businesses.
6. Neglecting Updates – When it comes to updating software it can be a real pain. Many times you have to stop what you’re doing and log off while the computer updates, which can slow you down. The truth is, however, that updates are necessary for protecting your data. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to break into operating systems, software, and plug-ins so that they can steal information. Updates, therefore, ensure that your software is up to date on the latest “hacking trends.”
7. Improper Disposal of Data – There comes a point when you’re going to throw away the old information (or devices) you have. Maybe you need new computers, or you’re eliminating your paper files. Whatever the case is, if you don’t properly dispose of them your data can still be compromised. Deleting files and throwing away paper is not enough. A secure plan needs to be implemented that would include wiping out the system on technological devices and shredding of physical documents.
Avoiding cyber security breaches is not all about installing the best antivirus software. It requires a strategic plan to minimize vulnerabilities and recover should a breach occur. In most instances, this requires a few simple steps and adjustments to how you’re presently using your data and technological devices. Keep each of these mistakes in mind as you begin to develop a security awareness program and subsequent policies for your business.