This is National Safety Month, and it’s a good time to review important safety policies in your business to help mitigate the risk of theft. One of the biggest security risks rests with your company’s digital data. You may think your company is too small to be threatened, and that big firms like Target or Equifax are the only ones that hackers go after. Not true; the data shows that one in five small businesses fall victim to hackers, and of those, 60% go out of business in six months. These sobering statistics make it a necessity for companies of all sizes to reduce the risk of IT security breaches in the office. Here are four ways to mitigate your risk.
1. Create a Culture of Cybersecurity
A survey by Security Magazine showed that 60% of small business employees believe that hacker security threats are external, but the reality is that most data theft occurs when an internal employee accidentally clicks on a malicious file. This means the company’s own employees carry a level of risk that companies must work to overturn. Creating a culture of cybersecurity means that you train your workforce in the proper use of email to avoid unleashing a virus into your system. It means keeping up to date on the latest security threats to your data. It also requires you to run regular updates on all of your systems. The Security Magazine also showed that 40% of small business employees worry they will be blamed for a cyber breach. The magazine emphasized that these workers would be less likely to notify you if they clicked on a malicious link. That creates an unacceptable risk for your business that developing an awareness of data security can curtail.
2. Develop a Secure Infrastructure
Firewalls should be installed on every company and electronic device that accesses your network. You may also way a monitoring gateway to observe who is accessing your data and from where. This is a proactive process that your IT team should naturally handle. If you have a very small business, leveraging cloud services is a good way to have a more secure infrastructure. If you store data in the cloud, that means information flows through the internet and to a distant secure server center run by your third-party vendor. These infrastructures have full IT security teams to support them, making them a more secure option for a small business that may lack a full-time resource to manage data security.
3. Consider Physical Security
Who has physical access to your data? Consider how data could physically be removed from your office. It might be helpful to have several layers of end-user authentication that could prevent contractors or employees from downloading data remotely without approval. All of your data should be encrypted, which is a method of scrambling the information so that no one can discern it without the proper key to unlock it.
4. Have a Data Recovery Plan
This is critical but so many small companies fail to have a plan for if their data is stolen. One of the most common hacker tools today is ransomware. Ransomware hackers use a malicious program to lock the computers on your system until a monetary ransom is paid. But simply backing up your data regularly and having a plan to recover the data if you’re a hacking victim is all you need to do to keep your IT files safe.
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