All small business owners need to ask themselves this honest question: could your business recover smoothly from a security breach. Security should be a major concern for small business owners, and yet, for many it seems to be a footnote at best.
But the stakes of compromising a small business’ information, resources, or equipment is incredibly high—these are the things the business depends on for its integrity, efficiency, and success. And these elements can already be shaky for a smaller business, particularly if it’s just starting out.
The good news is, even though there are way more threats to security than there used to be, there are also way more tools to make your business safe. Let’s talk about five of these that will help small business owners beef up their security.
1. Internet Security
This is pretty much non-negotiable. You need to have your internet security down pat, and this requires good software to protect your data. If your business involves e-commerce, and because it’s 2017, it probably does, then it’s really important to make sure your business is protected. If your budget is tight, there are a number of good, free antispyware and antivirus programs out there.
But really, this is an important investment for keeping your information and the functioning of your business secure. If you’re willing to put a little money toward it, there is a lot of good security software actually geared toward small businesses. Don’t neglect this, whether free or paid—internet attacks continue to get more sophisticated, and your business can’t afford to be compromised.
Once this basic step is taken, it’s important to take another step back and consider what sort of general policies are in place for security. This thought is especially crucial if a business is not simply a one-person operation. The more staff a business has, the more important it is to consolidate practices into a unified front. Educating yourself and your staff on the safe use of company information, social networks, and personal data will make sure everybody is on board with company security.
It’s not enough to rely on individual good judgment, not unless the staff are all security experts. Get these things codified in a common understanding.
3. Alarm Systems
Physical security is important as well for your workplace. Burglary is still a real possibility, particularly if your business houses any kind of valuables. Alarm systems are still probably the best way to deter these threats. And luckily, the market is inundated with a wide range of sophisticated alarm systems for a business to choose from.
Most homes are protected by some sort of alarm. Why not extend to your means of livelihood the same kind of caution you give to your living space?
4. Password Best Practices
Again, the relevance of this point depends somewhat on whether a small business is a sole proprietorship. But regardless of staff, it’s important to brush up on password best practices. According to one study, the most popular password remains: “123456”—the most obvious thing to pop into your head.
If this is the brain trust behind most password security, it bodes ill for small businesses. Many resources exist to educate internet users on password best practices. Take advantage of them.
Finally, backup and duplicate your data, frequently. If something is stolen or falls into the wrong hands, there’s no good reason for it to be lost forever, particularly given how easy it is to make copies of everything.
Backups will also allow a business to examine a copy of whatever data was stolen to see whether any of it is actually harmful. This peace of mind is worth however long it takes to make copies of your information. Let me say it once more with feeling: the information is out there for a business to educate itself, so there really isn’t any excuse for poor security policies. Good security policies and practices will allow small business owners to relax and focus on what’s truly important: the business itself.
Author: Kenny Kline is a serial entrepreneur. His ventures are primarily focused on media and digital marketing. When not in front of his computer, he can be found beekeeping, knitting, and being as Brooklyn as humanly possible. Follow @ThisBeKenny on Twitter.