Don’t think you’re in danger because you’re “small” and not a big target like a J.P. Morgan or Home Depot?
Think again. 82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day, and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses; you just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of attracting bad PR, lawsuits, data-breach fines and out of sheer embarrassment.
In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year – and that number is growing rapidly as more businesses utilize cloud computing, mobile devices and store more information online. You can’t turn on the TV or read a newspaper without learning about the latest online data breach, and government fines and regulatory agencies are growing in number and severity.
Because of all of this, it’s critical that you have these 7 security measures in place.
- Train Employees On Security Best Practices. The #1 vulnerability for business networks are the employees using them. It’s extremely common for an employee to infect an entire network by opening and clicking a phishing e-mail (that’s an email cleverly designed to look like a legitimate email from a web site or vendor you trust). If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could compromise your entire network.
- Create An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – And Enforce It! An AUP outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. We strongly recommend putting a policy in place that limits the web sites employees can access with work devices and Internet connectivity. Further, you have to enforce your policy with content-filtering software and firewalls. We can easily set up per-missions and rules that will regulate what web sites your employees access and what they do online during company hours with company-owned devices, giving certain users more “freedom” than others.Having this type of policy is particularly important if your employees are using their own personal devices to access company data.
If that employee is checking unregulated, personal email on their own laptop that infects that laptop, it can be a gateway for a hacker to enter YOUR network. If that employee leaves, are you allowed to erase company data from their phone? If their phone is lost or stolen, are you permitted to remotely wipe the device – which would delete all the employee’s photos, videos, texts, etc. – to ensure YOUR clients’ information isn’t compromised? Further, if the data in your organization is highly sensitive, such as patient records, credit card in-formation, financial information and the like, you may not be legally permitted to allow employees to access it on devices that are not secured; but that doesn’t mean an employee might not innocently “take work home.” If it’s a company-owned device, you need to detail what an employee can or cannot do with that device, including “rooting” or “jailbreaking” the device to circumvent security mechanisms you put in place.
- Require STRONG passwords and passcodes to lock mobile devices. Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a passcode to be entered will go a long way toward preventing a stolen device from being compromised. Again, this can be ENFORCED by your network administrator so employees don’t get lazy and choose easy-to-guess passwords, putting your organization at risk.
- Keep Your Network Up-To-Date. New vulnerabilities are frequently found in common software programs you are using, such as Microsoft Office; therefore it’s critical you patch and update your systems frequently. If you’re under a managed IT plan, this can all be automated for you so you don’t have to worry about missing an important update.
- Have An Excellent Backup. This can foil the most aggressive (and new) ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay a fee. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay a crook to get them back. A good backup will also protect you against an employee accidentally (or intentionally!) deleting or overwriting files, natural disasters, fire, water damage, hardware failures and a host of other data-erasing disasters. Again, your backups should be AUTOMATED and monitored; the worst time to test your backup is when you desperately need it to work!
- Don’t allow employees to download unauthorized software or files. One of the fastest ways cybercriminals access networks is by duping unsuspecting users to willfully download malicious software by embedding it within downloadable files, games or other “innocent” looking apps. This can largely be prevented with a good firewall and employee training and monitoring.
- Don’t Scrimp On A Good Firewall. A firewall acts as the frontline defense against hackers blocking everything you haven’t specifically al-lowed to enter (or leave) your computer network. But all firewalls need monitoring and maintenance, just like all devices on your network. This too should be done by your IT person or company as part of their regular, routine maintenance.
Want Help Implementing These 7 Essentials? If you are concerned about your employees and the dangers of cybercriminals gaining access to your network, then call us about how we can implement a managed security plan for your business. Call us at 888-523-2568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.