For most companies, developing an optimized web presence is a key part of growing their business. The more you expand your business’s online reach, though, the more exposed you are to security threats.
In 2022, it is essential for companies of all sizes to prioritize online security. With the frequency of data breaches and cyber-attacks continuing to rise, failing to implement effective online security protocols can lead to a variety of costly issues. This includes extended downtime, reputational damage, fees for not meeting regulatory requirements, and much more.
The good news is that there are a variety of ways that business owners can go about fortifying their online security. In this article, we’ll explore six proven tips that you can leverage to keep your company’s sensitive data and systems secure so that you can focus on generating conversions and growing your brand.
1) Back Up Your Data
When a data breach occurs, a company’s data can sometimes be lost forever. Depending on how important the data in question is to your company’s operations, this loss of data can sometimes bring devastating consequences. The first cybersecurity step that you should take, therefore, is ensuring that you create backups for all of your vital data. Never store too much important data on a single device, and ensure that you back up all of your data via cloud storage.
2) Utilize Multi-Factor Authentification
Creating strong passwords is one of the most important keys to online security. However, even the best passwords can sometimes be cracked. Thankfully, multi-factor authentication enables you to dramatically improve password security. One example of multi-factor authentication is requiring that you respond to a message that is sent to your phone or email address in addition to correctly entering your password. Another example is requiring that you correctly answer a security question. These extra steps may reduce the convenience of logging into the various accounts you and your employees rely on. However, they also make unauthorized access exponentially more difficult.
3) Train and Screen Your Employees
According to data from Equifax, 60% of data breaches are caused by insider threats. In other words, the majority of data breaches are caused by someone with legitimate access to company assets. This figure highlights the importance of both carefully screening your employees and carefully training them in proper online security protocols.
Keep in mind that an inside cybersecurity threat encompasses both intentional and unintentional damage. An employee might not set out to harm your company, but a simple mistake such as opening the wrong file or clicking the wrong link can sometimes have serious consequences.
A little effort spent training your employees in safe online practices, therefore, may be the biggest key to preventing security incidents. If you work with remote employees, utilizing an app such as Calendly is a great way to both get to know who you are working with and provide them with clear online security instructions.
4) Install Antivirus Software
Any device that stores sensitive data and is connected to the internet needs to be secured with antivirus software. Data breaches can come from a variety of sources. One common source, though, is malware and spyware that is downloaded onto an internet-connected device.
Thankfully, good antivirus software is quite effective at detecting and eliminating such malicious code. While it may be tempting to utilize one of the many free antivirus programs available, this probably isn’t the best choice; online security isn’t something you should skimp on. Although some free antivirus programs are decent enough, many others aren’t. Taking the time to research available software and being willing to pay a little extra for the best will likely pay dividends in the long run.
5) Protect Your Network With a Firewall
Anyone who has access to your network may be able to access the data stored on the devices connected to it. Breaching Wi-Fi networks, therefore, is one common way that hackers gain access to a company’s data. Antivirus software only secures individual devices and does nothing to secure the network(s) they connect to. For this, you will need to purchase and install a network firewall, learn about top 3 advantages of using payroll software for your business.
A firewall filters incoming and outgoing network traffic in order to identify and prevent unauthorized access. Installing a firewall often isn’t cheap as it requires purchasing hardware that can cost anywhere from $700 to $10,000+. Considering that your business network provides access to every device you and your employees use, though, hiring managed IT services in Charlotte to secure it is well worth the cost.
6) Don’t Mix Business and Pleasure
As a general rule, any device that stores company data shouldn’t be used for personal purposes. Mixing your business and personal life in this manner is bound to open your data up to unnecessary risks. Sharing business devices with friends and family, for example, means that people who might not know about safe online practices could unintentionally give hackers access to the device.
Using a business device for personal means also means that you’ll be creating a lot of extra accounts on the device yourself – another practice that increases cybersecurity risk. While almost every business owner uses their personal device for business during the early stages of their company, it’s a practice that is best abandoned as your brand grows.
There was a time when only large corporations really had to worry about data breaches. Today, though, cybercriminals have widened their nets to target companies of all sizes. As you go about growing your brand, ensuring that you are protecting its sensitive data with effective online security protocols is essential. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be able to ensure that your brand doesn’t become one of the many victims of cybercrime.