It’s common knowledge that protecting data online should be a top concern for every company. However, you may be asking why your small company has to worry about data security if it employs remote employees or a tiny team that splits its time between different offices.
More than half of all cyberattacks are directed against companies with less than 500 employees. There was also a 238% increase in cyberattacks on remote employees during the epidemic. Despite this, 47% don’t have any kind of cyber protection strategy.
The following security steps are recommended to protect your small company from the all-too-common security breaches.
1. Prepare Your Distant Employees for Data Privacy and Security
Fifty percent of businesses don’t bother to teach their staff on cybersecurity. Because new dangers emerge all the time, you need to make training an integral part of your business as a whole.
Below are some of the most cited internet tools you may use to teach your personnel until you’re ready to spend in intensive training:
- Organizations and people alike may benefit from CISA’s Cybersecurity Awareness Program, a nationwide public education initiative. More information is available at no cost in this location.
- The National Security Agency (NSA) provides free tools to help people learn about cyber risks and how to protect themselves from them.
- TryHackMe has a wealth of resources for cyber security students of all levels of expertise.
- Another well-known website with free and cheap cybersecurity information is the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.
2. Protect Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
Information that may be used to identify an individual is known as personally identifiable information (PII). Protecting sensitive information is the right thing to do for your company and your customers. It’s helpful to have these rules and regulations:
- The United States Privacy Act of 1974 establishes guidelines for how federal agencies may acquire, utilize, and disclose citizens’ personal information.
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides recommendations for safeguarding personally identifiable information (PII), which may be consulted whenever necessary.
3. Think About Using a Password Manager
Use a password manager, such as LastPass or 1Password, to safely distribute login information throughout the whole organization. You may be certain that your off-site staff won’t be keeping passwords in their browsers or other digital files. This is especially important for mobile employees who may be connecting from hotels, cafes, airports, or other public locations. The installation of password protection software is straightforward, and helpful hints are available to maximize its effectiveness. You’ll want one because…
- Password-protected safes may be set up for each user.
- No passwords entered into the browser are stored.
- If you try to use the same password for several accounts, you will be warned.
- alerts people of a probable data breach so that settings may be adjusted quickly.
4. Methods for Processing Payments
Businesses that need to hold customers’ credit card details, say, for recurring payments, should look into employing a third-party payment processor like CardX or Stripe. While they may be more expensive initially, they provide clear pricing that may be invaluable as your company grows. We suggest that you investigate when and how to employ a third-party payment processor. You’ll be less at risk if you use one, too.
Some guidelines to keep in mind while processing online payments from customers:
- Requesting the CVV is a simple step that may go a long way toward assuring that the credit card information being used really belongs to its owner.
- You should implement continuous fraud monitoring either in-house or via a dedicated third party (your bank can be a good resource here).
- Making sure your company is PCI compliant will help prevent credit card theft.
5. Precautions Every Small Business Should Take Regarding Security
Put in place a firewall
Workers are unable to inadvertently download malware thanks to antivirus software. This may seem to be an overstated need, but it is becoming more important as remote work becomes the norm in the professional world.
Some of the most well-known names in antivirus software include McAfee, Kaspersky, and Norton. Kaspersky has extra security features including browser encryption, while Norton provides a safe virtual private network option. Including this will safeguard information if your mobile workforce uses servers in a variety of off-site locations or public Wi-Fi.
Safeguard Wireless Networks
Wireless network encryption is one of the best methods to keep your data secure when using a wireless connection. In the event of a cyberattack or even a brief period of hacking, this will make the data you have access to far more difficult to decipher.
If the gadgets your remote employees use are more than 10 years old, you should replace them. WPA3 is the most secure wireless network encryption available and can be readily tested for compatibility with a wide range of distant devices, making it an excellent choice for usage in a secure setting like a house.
Schedule Regular Backups
Try to find ways to automate the process of backing up your most important files (such as Microsoft Word documents, spreadsheets, data, employee and customer records, and so on). Also, mobile phones and tablets should not be overlooked. The majority of your staff is likely to use their mobile devices to access company data, therefore limiting the number of apps they can install or requiring “desktop” only access in certain areas will help immensely.
Use a Two-Factor Authentication System
Both multi-factor authorization (MFA) and its close cousin, two-factor authentication (2FA), verify that the user signing in is who they claim to be. Facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, a mobile access code sent via text message, and security questions are all common forms of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication should be enabled for all applications and software, but notably those that deal with private or sensitive information.
Were You Hacked? What Should Be Done Now
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides extremely clear rules on what to do if you think you’ve been the victim of a security breach, including how to safeguard your data and inform your employees and customers. The most important things are outlined here; nonetheless, this is by no means a comprehensive list of to-dos.
- Protect your business by enforcing a backup plan right now. If you can’t figure out what to do, contact your IT department or the outside company and have them start locking down your systems immediately.
- Data breaches must be notified to the appropriate authorities (police, FBI, or Homeland Security) within 72 hours of discovery in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
- If you have cyber insurance, you should file a claim with your provider. If you don’t already, getting cyber insurance to protect your information is a smart move to do after the dust settles.
- Notify customers: Be specific about the nature of the breach, the date it occurred, the data that may have been compromised, the company’s response, and the steps consumers should take to protect themselves.