No business is entirely safe from security threats. When huge companies such as Sony and Dropbox can suffer from data breaches, how can smaller companies hope to remain unscathed?
And the reality for small businesses is that they are actually more of a target for thieves and hackers, even though you might not hear about it in the media. There’s a good reason why - businesses that fly under the radar often won’t have the robust protection of the bigger companies, and are seen as a softer target by the criminals.
So the big questions for small business owners are what are the most major security threats to your business, and how can you prevent them occurring? We’re going to take a look at the biggest issues you will face, so let’s get down to business right away.
We’re a lot more flexible about devices these days, whether it’s your business offering employees the opportunity to work from home on personal computers, or releasing apps to customers for use on their smartphones. It is vital, however, that you understand that any device used to access your business could be problematic, You will need to lock down your system with robust security if offering remote working or operating a ‘bring your own device’ policy. And at the very least, your mobile products should include the ability to confirm the identity of your customers. Encryption is vital at every stage, too, as any mobile device is often a weak link when it comes to security measures.
Criminals come in all shapes and sizes, from the desperate shoplifter or burglar to the savvy and disruptive hacker. But make no mistake about it, all of them can cause your business serious problems, and you should be doing your best to set up protection against them. A physical security presence is critical, whether it is a store guard, security tags and alarms, or a camera system. But your technology needs a lot of protection, too. Invest in high-quality security software, use antivirus programs, and make it as hard as possible for a hacker to target weaknesses in your business.
Sadly, most data breaches or thefts from a business occur because of someone on the inside - although it’s important to understand it is often through mistake rather than evil act. It is essential for business owners to offer their staff robust training that teaches them how to be safe, secure, and conscious of their actions. Strict hiring procedures and regular checks will help you avoid hiring bad apples, and business owners should only allow trusted staff to access systems or areas of the company on a need to know basis.
Finally, as we mentioned above, many security problems arise from simple mistakes. It is essential that you are supplying your employees with the right levels of security knowledge, whether it’s teaching them how to report suspicious behavior or the basics of online safety. It’s important to explain security to your customers, too - make them aware that they have a responsibility to look after their data just as much as you.