Ten Essential Security Practices
1. Perform Network Scans
Scan your network regularly – including port, vulnerability and network scans – to identify areas of vulnerability that a hacker might be able to exploit. Once the areas of weakness are identified, you can implement more protective efforts in order to keep your business safe.
2. Use Updated Firewalls and Antivirus Software
Ensure you have the latest generation of firewall software available. A good firewall will focus on the destination and source of IP addresses and ports.
Each computer should have antivirus software that is up to date and is turned on. This is the most basic protection and is essential. These programs are designed to scan your computers for any suspicious or potentially harmful software that could try to find its way on to your network. Keep this software updated to protect against new threats. A good antivirus software program will both identify new malware and viruses and remove them safely.
3. Invest in cyber insurance. This is a fairly new product which can help a company overcome financial difficulties if their computer systems are breached. (Businesses with up to 50 employees and 10MM in revenue can get an instant quote here: https://bizlock.net/partner/msps.)
4. Research Intrusion Prevention Options
Intrusion prevention systems are relatively new concepts for protecting networks. These systems maintain a database of known ways networks are currently being attacked in order to recognize attacks and stop employees from making mistakes that could allow an attack to result. A good intrusion prevention system such as Snort is useful in preventing intrusions from happening accidentally.
5. Install Alarms
Alarms are incredibly useful at protecting a startup, as they’ll warn you when anything abnormal occurs. Network alarms can alert you to a potential hacking or a suspicious download. Physical problem alarms also exist to keep your equipment and employees safe, helping you to avoid costly repairs, equipment replacements and potential lawsuits in the event of a fire, flood or carbon monoxide poisoning.
6. Hire and Train Trustworthy Employees
During hiring activities, make sure that you run the proper background checks on any potential employees. While this might sound like common sense, it is a crucial activity in avoiding internal theft.
Only hire from credible sources. You should post open positions on your business website or use a reputable job agent that can help you to filter out applicants. Taking the extra time to make informed hiring and personnel decisions can save you money and a lot of stress in the long run.
Monitor employee computer use. It is important to not only monitor employees to make sure they are not putting computers at risk, it is also important to monitor any private devices that an employee may use on the business network. Every business should have policies in place to protect their computer systems. Employees should sign a form indicating they have read the policies and there should be consequences when employees break those policies.
Raise employee awareness for the need for security. Seefor free online games to give your employees to play to raise their cyber security awareness.
7. Encrypt Your Data
Encrypting your data is one way to avoid data loss as a result of hacking. Encryption works by converting data into a code. The end-user will only access the data through a protected portal that is set up to read the code. Encryption will render the data unreadable if a thief is somehow able to access it.
Businesses often use encryption to protect their financial information, including credit card numbers. Encryption can be useful for protecting personal or business information, and there are options for encryption outsourcing that can offer your business optimal protection.
8. Back Up Your Data
One thing to consider if hackers access your network to steal data is how you’ll get the data back. Running a routine backup of your network can give you a copy in the event that your data is compromised and goes missing. A backup for your business will minimize the amount of time that you’ll have to go without accessing your data.
It is important to remember that data can also be lost as a result of a natural disaster, so you should keep your backups off-site. This will help to avoid a complete loss of information. Backup protection will get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible if data loss occurs.
9. Add Video Cameras
One important way to keep your business safe is to add video camera surveillance. Make sure your employees know that their actions are being monitored, and post signs that tell visitors and staff that you are recording on the premises. Make sure the video is powered independently so that you’ll be able to access the video feeds remotely. Video cameras are also effective in crime prevention and can help the police to catch a culprit in the event of a potential burglary.
10. Implement Web Filters
When running a small business, you are always at risk of someone using your network that decides not to follow your rules. If someone decides to access content or download something that they should not be using, they could open up your network to a whole host of problems. Web filtering is a good tool to control what is accessed by people on your business network, and it can block users from accessing harmful web and email content that could jeopardize your system.
Sources: edited from https://www.universityofhermes.com/improve-cyber-security-small-organizations/ and http://www.tmcnet.com/sectors/security/articles/424442-10-essential-security-points-startups-should-keep-mind.htm