By Nick Brown
One of the major problems with organizing and running a small business lies in the fact that most companies project growth according to the best-case scenario. Sure, according to your number of clients, average profit and financial projections you can predict your future expansion, however, what about in-house theft, an expensive break-in or a DDOS attack? How does this bode for your business in this grand scheme of things?
While these things are impossible to predict and their consequences hard to quantify, they aren’t impossible to prevent. With this in mind, here are five steps which can help you step up your small business security on every level.
1. Prepare Backup
So many businesses depend on various digital tools and software and underestimating data-loss related to it appears to be a horrifying thought. You see, you’re not simply losing data, you’re losing days, weeks and months of work, which is a simply horrifying notion, therefore, you need to learn how to prepare backups.
While this can be done manually, more and more companies prefer to use plugins in order to facilitate and automate this process. In this way, you risk losing several hours or days of work, instead of weeks and months.
The main problem with adding more plugins is the fact that it slows down your platform as a whole, as well as compromises your security. Therefore, you should only turn to third-party software that comes from a reliable source. Moreover, in order to ensure your business is well-protected, you need to regularly update this software and replace it, should you learn of an issue regarding its security. All in all, adopting some of these practices is more than important for the overall security of your business.
2. Eliminate Dangers from Human Factors
Another thing you need to understand is the fact that no matter how good your security is, you can never rule out the possibility of a mistake caused by human factor. Here, you have two major issues to focus on – bad password practices and phishing.
When it comes to a password, a hacker can skip so many steps and penetrate your corporate platforms with ease if they can get their hands on a password owned by someone with the right clearance in your company. In other words, if a member of your staff uses their pet’s name or their child’s date of birth as a password, this is something that anyone who ever remotely knows them can safely guess. A five-minute research of their Facebook and Instagram account can be enough to endanger your entire organization. Therefore, you need to teach your staff about the importance of strong passwords and insist on a strong password policy as much as you can.
3. Understand Phishing
As for phishing, about 8.5 million of phishing emails get clicked on every single day, which means that this threat might be even be more present than you initially thought. The major problem with this issue lies in the fact that most people aren’t even aware that such a problem even exists. That being said, you need to take some time to educate your staff on this issue, in order to protect your business from this grim fate.
4. Protect Your Physical Property
The next massive problem that some small businesses encounter is the fact that they get so lost in all the above-listed IT security measures that they completely forget about the importance of protecting their physical property. Theft of office supplies, break-ins and other, similar, ordeals are still a real threat, yet, not a lot of small businesses do enough to protect them.
In order to address this issue properly, you need to think about your headquarters as your own fortress. This means setting up several lines of defense. For instance, if you have company vehicles, you need to think about whether you have enough garage facilities or do they have to stay outside overnight. If the latter is the case, then, you need to protect your entire property, not just the building which houses your business.
As for the building itself, you need to think about entry points such as windows, doors and fire escape stairs and ladders. Tending to these issues takes less effort than you might have assumed, yet, you might be forced to invest quite a bit of money. Finally, installing a surveillance system might also be worth your while for several reasons. A sole presence of a surveillance system (even low-quality one) further complicates the issue for potential burglars. If nothing else, it is a powerful deterrent and should be used as such.
5. Prevent In-House Theft
Finally, one of the greatest problems that every small business faces is the issue of in-house theft. Protecting your property from an outside threat is much easier than protecting it from people who are granted free access to it. In order to fight this threat, you need to start addressing it during your hiring process. Before an interview, you want to screen your potential employees in order to see who exactly you’re bringing on board.
Moreover, it might be better if you were to find a way to prevent your employees from coming into the temptation of stealing something in the first place. The simplest way to do so is to organize a peer system, which means that each employee in your employ serves as a supervisor to their partner. Another thing you can do is restrict access to certain areas, yet this isn’t that good of a practice when it comes to the overall office atmosphere.
As you can see, each of the above-listed problems poses a real threat to your business and business-related assets on a regular basis. While some of the measures listed above may be less expensive than others, it is more than clear that a single slip-up might be much costlier. To make the long story short, making a mistake when it comes to your company’s security is a mistake your business may never recover from.
Photo credit: CCTV security camera from igorstevanovic/Shutterstock