No matter the size of your business, there is always a chance you will become the target of cybercriminals and malicious software. While this risk is lower for smaller companies compared to larger ones, it is still highly essential to take all precautions to ensure you, your employees and your customers are kept safe. If you are not doing all of the following, then you could be leaving yourself open to a cyber disaster.

Encrypt Your Data

Encrypting your data, along with other security measures, ensures that your data will stay safe even if it falls into the wrong hands. If a hacker manages to gain access to your data storage, they are unlikely to break into any encrypted files. Encrypting your data is crucial in protecting data that is kept in cloud storage, hiding your operating systems and programmes, and ensuring business emails are kept secure. Encryption services are available for any kind of device that handles digital information, which includes your own Internet connection.

Educate Your Employees

Since your business’s IT resources are accessible to a large amount of people on multiple devices presents a security risk. Therefore it is of utmost importance to educate your employees on data security to ensure they know the risks. In doing this it allows you to not only make them part of your security solution but double your efforts in keeping our business safe. You may even want to invest in security awareness training courses for your employees, particularly if your business relies heavily on IT in general.

Stay Updated

When looking after a large network, it is critical to keep all of your software and operating systems up to date, no matter how daunting it may seem. To ensure this occurs, configure your software resources to download and install security updates automatically. While other updates are optional, they should still be installed as they often help improve the performance and reliability of the software.

Lock Your Wireless Network

While Wi-Fi is very convenient, unless it has restricted access it is not secure. Since data is transmitted via radio waves, anyone who is connected to the network can intercept it, using the the right tools. Most importantly, you will want to enable WPA2 protection. This is much more secure than the older protocols of WEP and WPA. For better results , use a router which provides enterprise-level WP2 security and ensure the connection is hidden from the public. A seperate connection that uses it’s own hardware and network should be set up for providing guests or customers with Wi-Fi.

Use Anti-malware Protection

Free antivirus protection may be suitable for the average home user, however it very rarely offer enough protection for business computers. Most anti-malware developers provide solutions that are specifically designed to be used in a corporate environment. These types of software are designed to detect and remove any malicious software or additional threats the moment they appear. Thus, not giving them the chance to do any damage to your systems. Many business broadband packages provide additional software and services.

Limit User Accounts

It is rare for there to be a reason to provide employees with full administrative access to the IT resources. Instead, providing them with their own user with standard access prevents them from modifying system settings, accessing admin resources or installing any drivers and programs that may modify system settings. For example Professional and Enterprise versions of Windows come with something known as Group Policy Editor. This tool allows admins to fully control user account security through a central console.

Monitor Online Activities

In order to ensure they are using the company’s IT resources appropriately, employees online activities should be monitored. These solutions may be as simple as tracking the websites they visit to something more intense such as recording every keystroke and sending the logs to a centralised web based console. However, for your employees’ sake, it is important to not go too far and ensure any such monitoring is known by your employees. After all, no one likes to be spied on, especially if it is being hidden by your employer. On the other hand, you could simply install software that blocks any inappropriate websites and other online resources. In most cases, this is sufficient enough.

Enforce a Security Policy

A strict security policy allows you to set boundaries on employee access and use of IT resources, define what is  considered as acceptable behaviour and educate your employees on how to deal with any security threats. It should also outline the required practices for other things such as user account and email management. In terms of Internet, the policy should implement a ban on both sharing and downloading non-work related files and visiting inappropriate sites. A security policy also gives you chance to tell your employees about any online monitoring practices that may or do use.

Use a Firewall

Installing/Using a firewall is critical for any networks security. While the one included with all forms of Windows is adequate for home users, business owners may want to invest in something more secure. Firewalls often come in the form of hardware and software and exist to provide a further layer of security to prevent any unauthorised network access and control traffic. Broadband routers designed specifically for businesses often feature an already embedded firewall. Other options include software – or hardware – based firewalls, designed for businesses with networks of varying size. Additionally, specialty firewalls are used for more demanding security applications.

Secure Your Mobile Devices

Mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones, are at a much higher risk of being lost or stolen, due to their portable nature. However, in this modern time, these devices are critical to a business. When implementing security on any devices your employees use, it is important to think about identity and access, data encryption and application security. Ensure there is a strict password policy and have a contingency plan in the event that a device goes missing. If your business has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, you may consider changing it to ensure you have more control over your business’s data security.

While it may seem like a lot of excess work and money spent, keeping you business safe from potential online threats is critical to any future success. By ensuring your data is secure and using suitable hardware, software and services, your employees, customers and most importantly your business will be better off.

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