More than ever, information technology plays a critical role in every aspect of business — regardless of the size of the organization. With breaches constantly in the news, cybersecurity is top of mind for most business owners and executives.
What steps can you take today to protect your intellectual property, your customers’ privacy and your brand?
Matt Mercier, owner of Acapella Technologies shares important tips to keep your business cybersecure.
Create a Workable Plan
The FCC advises all small businesses to have a cybersecurity strategy in place to protect their customers as well as their in-house data. Whether or not you have an existing plan, your first step should be a comprehensive audit that includes:
- Identification and categorization of sensitive data.
- An understanding of where the data resides.
- Exploration of the methods that should be used to secure the data.
Once you’ve created your cybersecurity plan, work with your communications team to determine the best ways to share the information with your workforce. Depending on the complexity of your IT and cybersecurity needs, you may want to plan some training sessions for everyone involved in data handling, protection and dissemination.
Partner With Professionals
Owning a small business can mean serving as a jack of all trades, but cybersecurity demands attention from qualified professionals. Technology changes constantly, and cybercriminalsork diligently to stay one step ahead.
Even on established platforms, cybersecurity risks lurk. Consider the possible effects of a breach, including compromising of sensitive data, the potential for significant downtime, and — most importantly — the potential loss of trust among your employees and customers. A security audit from an experienced IT team is well worth the cost.
If you manage your digital assets in-house, IT professionals can advise you on actions to take to nail down your security as much as possible. From the latest plugins to methods for auditing log files, keeping up with constantly evolving technologies takes significant time that most small-business owners don’t have.
Use Secure Hosting
The cloud may sound nebulous, but all data resides in a specific, physical location. The truth is that your data is only as safe as the infrastructure used by your hosting organization. If your website lives on a server in a data center, an attack on that center is an attack on your site.
The security breaches that make national news happen to very large organizations, leaving some small-business owners with a false sense of security. With so many malware and other cybersecurity threats coursing through global networks, a small security oversight — at any of your data touchpoints — can result in disaster.
Whether you’re choosing a new hosting company or reviewing an existing partnership, make sure you understand the methods in place for protecting your data and critical systems.
Build an Ironclad Backup Structure
It should go without saying, but your business continuity depends on a sound backup strategy — including multiple forms of backups kept in multiple, safe locations. No one can anticipate all the ills that might befall computers, buildings and data, so the wise strategy involves planning for the worst.
All computers in your organization need regular backup of critical digital assets, including:
- Spreadsheets and word processing documents.
- Financial files.
- Human Resources files.
- All data and files related to accounts payable and receivable.
In addition, consider the time required to get your daily operations up and running again should your current computers suddenly go out of commission. If your business cannot withstand that time requirement, consider virtual computing — a platform that allows your employees to continue their work seamlessly from anywhere.