” Why Small Businesses Need a Cyber-Security Upgrade!” Cassie Phillips, Guest Blogger
We have all been hearing on the news about different companies, corps and even the US Government getting hacked by cyber-criminals. More than annoying, it costs everyone serious bucks. What to do? Big corporations and companies can hire freelance tech people or have security on staff. The US Governments needs to up their game in this arena too. But what about the smaller businesses who don’t have tech people on staff? What if those same small businesses don’t know what they need much.. much less who to hire?
Get some answers – and tips– within this article courtesy of guest blogger, Cassie Phillips. She’s very sharp and she knows what she’s talking about. There re numerous links in the following article. I highly recommend checking out each and every link within this article because you can mine the gems of information that she has planted for your education and reference.
Why Small Businesses Need a Cyber-Security Upgrade!
The Sony e-mail scenario is still causing all sorts of headlines despite happening quite a while ago, and the entire debacle is just a constant reminder to other businesses that security doesn’t just mean locks, keys, and alarms. Also, the growing profitability of cybercrime (Information resource) combined with the fact that most cybercriminals do not wind up getting caught (or are protected by international boundaries), the best defense is in fact an extremely good defense.
The problem is that small businesses don’t always think they can afford the big tech infrastructure that larger corporations have, and the truth is that they don’t need it. What they do need, however, is a set of guidelines for protection and basic security solutions for the modern workplace.
Taking all of this into consideration, firewall and anti-virus software that a lot of businesses have now just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Businesses need to train their employees in (at least) basic cybersecurity. They need to invest in whatever equipment and services that will help them, and they need to make sure that there is no current breach or weakness that can sink the business should a vengeful hacker cross paths with your network.
In short, you should take the following advice to start making this upgrade:
Have a Review and Set Protocols
Every small business, regardless of how much they use technology, should have a cybersecurity review every couple of months. If any important data (even basic financial records) is used or stored on a computer or smartphone, you owe it to your business and your future well-being to protect it because there are hackers who would be happy to steal it for identity theft purposes or hold it for ransom.
Ask your employees what they are currently doing for technology, and ask if they are following good practices and habits (security tips resource) for their computer use. This is especially true if they are using the assets of the business for their browsing, purchases, or research because bad practices can potentially compromise the equipment beyond repair. Do things such as have your employees log out of accounts and shut down computers at the end of the day. See what special needs your business might have and react accordingly.
Protect Your Business with a VPN
When it comes to identity theft, a lot of businesses have employees that go out into the field or meet clients in places other than the office. If this is the case, then they likely take client information and business information out into public as well, and sometimes access it using public networks.
This is a big mistake on everyone’s part because, for those who aren’t aware yet, public networks are some of the worst places to be connected if you are going to be handling important information that you want to keep safe. A hacker or malicious network admin can intercept the data ( information resource link), which can include passwords, raw business data, and client data. This can mean disaster for your business.
This is why you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for your business and relevant employees. A Virtual Private Network will make sure that any device using the VPN can securely connect over any network to an offsite server, which is not so easily compromised. The device will send and receive data as normal, but going through the server and having it handle everything instead of broadcasting it over the public network for interception will make the transfer of information much safer.
Finding the best VPN for your business (VPN information link) takes less research than you think, and they usually are never more than $10 a month. For peace of mind and the privacy it offers, that is something that your business can afford, especially when compared to alternative costs (Identity theft report).
Do a “Reset” of Your Current Security
When it comes to cybersecurity, adaptation and change is absolutely essential. For example, you wouldn’t trust your business to computers built in 1994 would you? Then why should you trust security programs (which constantly upgrade, change, or switch in popularity) that might not be the best available?
In addition to this, make sure that you change all of your passwords and relevant PIN numbers ( Check out this link for how to change your passwords: change your password ) right now. You might not know the source of any leak, or even if there is one, but after a while, something is going to leak, and it will spell nothing but problems. Perhaps it is a family member who doesn’t know better and found a slip of paper with a password on it. Perhaps it is a disgruntled employee who had to be let go a few months ago but could still theoretically access your online accounts.
Regardless of the situation, you need to close the holes now and know you are currently as safe as possible before you can stand a proper watch against new threats against your business.
Cassie Phillips is a writer and blogger who specializes in writing about technology, particularly internet security solutions for both individuals and businesses. She takes great joy in knowing that her work helps keep people safer when they browse online or search for the software products they need to keep their families or livelihoods safer.
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LA-Story would like to express our appreciation to Cassie Phillips for her expertise and ability to share this complex information with others in plain English. That is no mean feat!
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