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10 SIMPLE Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses

Setting up a small business has a lot of risks involved. One of the less obvious risks is cyber security. A lot of thought gets put into how to maximize technological abilities for the least cost – understandably – but the flip side of this that the security best practice is often side-lined or overlooked in order to get the business up and running quicker and cheaper.

With the recent/continued cyber security news stories you should take this in to account: don’t cut corners with security! With hacking and data theft becoming ever more present crimes in the modern world, you need to think very seriously about protecting your business. If you want to avoid some very nasty problems – loss of records, theft of your customers’ personal information, fraud – the following ten SIMPLE tips can keep your burgeoning small business away from disaster.

1.   BACK EVERYTHING UP

We can’t remind you enough to back up your data.  Never store anything that you can’t afford to lose in one place, or on a single device. Use an external drive for backup, check out the numerous cloud storage options available, and/or maybe even consider a hard copy of your records too.

2.   ENCRYPT EVERYTHING

Backing up is only safe if all of the backed up information is totally secure. The only way to stay safe it to install encryption on all devices and drives, and to encrypt emails that contain sensitive information.

3.   FIREWALLS

Placing a firewall on your network should be one of your first priorities. There are lots of options for firewall software out there, so shop around and find one you know works.

4.    SECURE YOURSELF AGAINST PHYSICAL THEFT

While you may be wary of hackers trying to breach your network, don’t forget that your hardware can be stolen too. Ensure all your employees are aware of the importance of any data than might be contained on their cell phones or laptops when out an about.

5.    PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST VIRUSES, MALWARE AND SPYWARE

Any deice connected to the internet is at risk, so ensure you have installed the latest anti-virus protection software. Run regular checks, and make sure that somebody is responsible for updating the software regularly.

6.   STRONG PASSWORDS ON EVERYTHING

Ensure that every one of your employees has a strong password on all of their devices that contain sensitive information. You should also put in place a policy to change passwords at regular intervals (quarterly at the very least).

7.    MAKE SURE THIRD PARTIES YOU DEAL WITH ARE AS SAFE/SECURE AS YOU

Be wary of any customers or other businesses that may be granted access to any of your systems, and insure that they are following similar practices to you. Don’t be afraid to check before you grant access to anybody.

8.   AVOID FREEWARE WHERE POSSIBLE

There are a lot of free options for anti-virus software and other protection, some of which are quite reliable. Others aren’t, and may even contain malware. Cyber security isn’t a good place to cut costs. Good security software is always money well spent.

9.   TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES

Ensure all your employees know the importance of constantly maintaining cyber security best practice and have a set of clearly defined rules to follow.

10.   DON’T MIX WORK AND PLEASURE

Where possible, avoid using the same device for your business as you do in the home. Don’t store business information on a device you share with family, friends, housemates etc. This opens up sensitive data to unnecessary risks.

The above tips, although simple, are/can be time consuming.  Need help? Contact CMIT today!

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