When it comes to online security, most small to medium-sized businesses don’t have the time or capacity to do more than their basic due diligence.
Just like insurance can sometimes feel like a big investment for a far off “what if?”, online security measures can seem like overkill.
The reality is that hackers, viruses, and other system issues don’t always choose victims based on size. In fact, businesses that think they don’t have the bandwidth for online security protection are often targeted.
It’s an unfortunate (but indisputable) fact that investing in the health of your business requires taking proper preventative measures online. Let’s look at some of the simplest and most cost-effective strategies you can implement right away to improve your internet security.
1. Change Your Password and Use Password Manager Systems
You know when that strong password suggestion comes up and you turn it down to use your first child’s name and birth year instead? (The same password you use for everything, right?) Well, there are handy tools like LastPass that keep track of your passwords for you.
When you’re signing up with new apps, social media platforms, programs, and companies, LastPass offers an easy way to update and change strong passwords without forgetting them or getting locked out of your accounts. A simple browser extension, LastPass stores your passwords in a “vault” and brings them up on your selected device so you always have them on hand without relying on keychains, handwritten notes, or your memory.
2. Set up VPNs for Your Business
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. The purpose of a VPN is to create a safe internet connection, even when you’re using public internet or public Wi-Fi. You can get paid or free VPNs, and the benefit is that they’re easy to install and offer great protection with little to no added cost.
3. Address Security Threats with an IT Service Provider
When it comes to protecting your business from digital threats, nothing beats a customized solution. A managed IT service provider can offer specific insights no article or blog can. Plus, they can tailor their suggestions to your business model, operations, business goals, and budget.
The first step a reputable outsourced IT provider will take is a full scan for security threats. Their team will ask questions about your current data and systems, essentially poking holes in them to see where security threats exist. Then, they’ll provide you with concrete solutions to fill those gaps. The IT pros will ask questions like:
- Are you storing personal data (like credit card numbers and email addresses) on your systems? What’s in place to protect that data?
- How are your computer systems connected?
- What will you do if your chosen cloud services suddenly shut down? Is there a hard copy of a backup?
4. Install Antivirus Software
If you don’t have antivirus software installed on your devices, your systems are at risk. This is one of the most inexpensive and easy ways to guarantee the protection of your business operations.
One question we’re often asked is, “Do I need antivirus software for my Mac?”
The answer is yes. Although Mac’s security system does a pretty good job of keeping out malware, it’s not 100% effective. As Macs become more popular and widely used, there’s a greater risk, so be sure to protect yours with an antivirus solution.
You might also run into challenges when it comes to finding the right program. Look for software that has great customer support services, or get in touch with an IT service provider to see what they recommend. These IT professionals can tell you how different firewalls and antivirus software works for various businesses and systems.
5. Create a Disaster Recovery Plan
It’s only front-page news when a big name company loses personal information and payment data, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening to smaller companies as well.
Blocking unauthorized access to your systems is mostly achieved through prevention, but it’s still wise to have a contingency plan that will walk you through what happens next and who you can contact for help when your company’s data is breached.
To learn more about what a disaster recovery plan looks like, or to book a consultation with Alt-Tech’s qualified IT technicians, please call our office. We’d be happy to discuss your options and find solutions that work for your small to medium-sized business.