We like to think of the world as a safe place, and that the likelihood of harm coming to your small business via cyber attack is low. However, the truth is that there are individuals out there who would like nothing more than to access your company’s sensitive data for their own gain. It’s the modern equivalent of bank robbery, and hundreds of businesses each year fall victim to this type of theft.
If you’re running a small business, it’s important to educate yourself about network security and make sure you’ve appropriately protected your business. As such, the Forte Systems team is here to help with ten things every small business should know about keeping data protected.
1 – Network Security 24x7x365
Just like a store that never closes, the internet never stops. Therefore, you need to have a security plan in place that will be at work keeping your data safe even when business hours are over. Have a wireless network? That’s one more door that hackers could be knocking on 24x7x365.
2 – Good Security is a Multi-Layered System
Your system should protect against malicious software and hacker attacks in order to keep your business communication and customer information private, as well as safeguard your system’s servers. A trusted and experienced IT company like Forte Systems can set up network security with multiple barriers (like firewalls, IPSs, intrusion prevention systems, and more to ensure the safety of your company’s sensitive data.
3 – Proper Security Means More Flexibility
If you have a well-protected network that employees can securely access from anywhere, you open up more possibilities for working remotely. This allows you to broaden your business’s geographical range and hire talent from outside of your area. It also gives employees more options for telecommuting when they can’t be in the office.
4 – Strong Passwords Work Best
Many of businesses don’t use passwords that are strong enough. As a result, hackers can easily gain access by using tools that are designed to guess or decipher passwords. By using a combination of 8 or more random upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, you can create a strong password that will protect your data against these basic hacking attempts.
5 – Keep Firmware Up-To-Date
Firmware is how your hardware is programmed to work at its most fundamental level. The firmware for network devices is continually updated by manufacturers to take advantage of the latest security measures and fill in any holes in the system. Working with an experienced IT provider will help keep your firmware up to date and ensure your security.
6 – An Informed Staff is a Solid Defense
Often, security breaches are the result of human error: employees who unintentionally leave sensitive data unprotected or fall victim to a phishing scam. Keep your team members educated on being vigilant protectors of company data through regular workshops and communications.
7 – Make Sure Your Employees are Trustworthy
When hiring, check multiple references, look at their online presences, and do background checks to make certain you’re bringing on people who can be vigilant about your mission and work with you on your network security goals.
8 – A Little Encryption Goes a Long Way
If you do fall victim to a security breach, your data won’t be compromised if it’s encrypted properly.
9 – Avoid a Security Breach at All Costs
You want your customers and clients to be able to trust your business with their personal and sensitive information. Keeping that information secure is paramount. Major retailers and healthcare insurers in the past few years have fallen victim to compromised customer data. Don’t let this happen to you.
10 – Don’t Skimp on Professional Help
Most small businesses don’t have an IT specialist on staff, which is fine so long as other measures are taken. IT companies can stand in as your full-time IT team so that you can spend your time building your business.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late
Don’t wait until your company’s network is compromised to start thinking about security. Securing your company’s network is an investment in its longevity, success, and trustworthiness among customers, and is not something to be taken lightly. At Forte Systems, we can help. Give us a call today 510-525-3000, and let’s talk about how we can take care of your small business network security needs.