5 Online Security Tips for Small Business

  • November 19, 2013

Small businesses are now more productive than ever. With high speed internet, mobile phones, and tablets, it’s easy to pick up where you left off, no matter where you are. However, this increased efficiency and convenience does come at a cost. How can you be sure your online financial information, customer data, social media accounts, and other online properties are safe from hackers and cyber thieves? If you’re not updating your security software regularly or following online security best practices, your business could be at risk. Check out these 5 tips below to get started on making your business as secure as it can be.

1. Make sure everyone knows the basics.

Knowledge is power, as the old saying goes. It’s important that everyone in your organization know where security threats may lie, and how to avoid them. You don’t want an employee unknowingly putting your online properties at risk. If everyone is up to date on online security basics, there is a lesser chance a hacker could take advantage.

Establish security practices and policies for all employees, and make sure they read them! This includes requiring extra strong passwords, as well as internet usage guidelines. You employees should only be using work-related sites at work, after all! Your guidelines should also dictate penalties for violating policy. It can seem harsh, but remember what is at stake.

2. Backup all data. All the time.

Make it a point to regularly backup the data on all computers. How often you do this will vary from business to business. Some might only need to do it once a month, while for others, weekly might be a better option. Make sure you take all important documents into consideration, such as financial files, human resources files, accounting files, and customer databases. If you’re able to backup the data automatically, that’s the easiest way to go. Keep the backups stored offsite or in the cloud.

3. Control physical access to computers.

Depending on your business, not every employee will need access to a computer. Make it a policy that only authorized users are able to physically access your computers - both desktops and laptops. Create a separate user account for each employee who needs access to a computer. That way you’re able to track their usage. Be sure to only give administrative privileges to trusted staff only.

4. Only use strong passwords.

What constitutes a strong password? One that’s difficult to remember! All passwords should be changed every 3 months, and no password should ever be reused. Passwords should also never be stored anywhere on the actual computer itself.

5. Limit admin authority.

The ability to install or upgrade software should be limited to trusted personnel. This limits the chances of an employee unknowingly downloading a virus or security threat. You can also keep tabs on what software employees are downloading, ensuring only necessary programs are being downloaded onto your machines.

These are just a few “quick wins” you can implement in order to get your small business on the road to security success. Do you have other quick tips? Please share them in the comments below.

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