Every small business owner should be concerned about IT security. The best IT security is essential to building a successful business. A recent study by Tech News found that it takes about 21 days to recover from an IT security breach. This is a time that most small businesses cannot afford to lose. These 10 best IT security tips for small businesses can help you to reduce risk and stay focused on your core business.
1. Start Small
One of the best IT security tips is to start auditing your security needs on a small scale. Go through each part of your system to see what vulnerabilities are like and what steps you need to take to ensure that you are doing all that you can to protect your systems. A good example is if you use remote accounting services to make sure that the highest level of encryption is being used.
Whether you are using accounting services to manage your full suite of needs like payroll services and accounts receivable or if you are only using payroll services, you want to make sure the data that is being transmitted is always highly secure. A breach can mean losing the trust of employees as well as customers. It can also mean that you are open up to a liability suit if that information falls into the wrong hands.
Looking at your IT systems in small sections can make it a lot easier to make improvements. It can also help you to determine risks.
2. Manage IT Entry Points
End user security is vital and one of the best IT security tips is to ensure that employees understand some basic rules about use. For example, passwords should be changed frequently and never be birthdates, anniversaries, social security numbers, kids’ names, pet names, or anything else that can be guessed. Entry points into your system, like laptops, tablets, and desktops that employees use should also have a high level of security. Ensure employees understand the importance of protecting the entry points that they use to gain access to the system.
If you really want to increase security, use a double authentication system. A double authentication system is one of the best IT security practices. If a cyber attack occurs and an employee’s basic authentication is compromised, it can be used to access other areas of the system, but if there is a double authentication system in place for high-level areas, then the attackers will be out of luck.
3. Prioritize Ongoing Training
It is estimated that about 70% of breaches stem from an employee’s entry point because the employee did not follow guidance, according to the Attorney General of the United States. How can you reduce this type of risk? Training. Focusing energy on cyber security training is important. Many small business owners will spend more time thinking about commercial glass tint for their office windows to keep prying eyes out (this is a good idea by the way) than they do about updating training materials regularly.
Hackers are always evolving their skill set, which means that the best IT security is also always evolving as well, which of course means that training has to evolve. It is not enough to put out that passwords need to be changed. Employees need to be made aware on a regular basis of what malware is floating around, and how to avoid clicking on “bait” that may open up their entry points to a cyber hacker. Keep your employees informed and up to date on the latest threats as you learn about them.
4. Take Care of Physical Security
The best IT security is only as good as the facility’s physical security. When we think of IT security, we do not necessarily think of calling on local locksmith companies to install new locks on physical entry points, but you should. Physical security is a must to protect your data.
If you are a commercial building company owner, you may want to consider taking things up a notch by installing electronically controlled entry points. Electronic access control portals help to keep records of who is coming and going from the building. A CAC card can be issued to the people in the building that are supposed to be there and will track who is coming and going and what time they come and go. In today’s world which is rife with corporate espionage via IT, this can be a very helpful tool in keeping unauthorized users out.
CAC card entry systems are often used in server rooms to ensure only authorized users are allowed to get near the IT equipment. It is an added layer of protection and one of the best IT security moves you can make.
5. Keep Prying Eyes Out
We briefly touched on this idea in tip three. Hackers are very savvy. They do not need to get access to your current IT equipment or even come up with a backdoor way in. If they can look into your office window and watch as your employee is typing their passwords into the system, they have all the information that they need, and then some.
Blind installation service can help to keep threats from seeing what they need to see to compromise your IT. It sounds too simple, but the fact is, making sure that your IT is safe comes down to thinking like a criminal. If they can see into your office, they can see your employee’s passwords.
6. Segment of Your Network
A key mistake that many small business owners make is not segmenting their network. For example, the small business owner will have everything in the building using the same network. This can be a recipe for disaster. Using different segments of the network to control different factors of your business can provide the ability to use higher levels of security for more sensitive data.
One business owner found out the hard way that segmenting your network is one of the best IT security tips out there. This business owner allowed an elevator service company to use the same network for the elevator to report problems that were used for employee data. The elevator company had a breach, and you guessed it, the employee data was also breached.
If the network was segmented into a few sections and the security level was tighter where it needed to be, this would never have happened. If this is something you cannot do yourself, consider outsourcing an IT professional to do it for you.
7. Do Not Leave Anything Around
A best IT security practice is to not leave anything around that has information relating to your system. Modems and other devices often come complete with the password and network name attached to the underside. Secure document shredding should be something that every small business owner subscribes to.
It is not beneath criminals to dumpster dive for information. It is hard to get information about your IT and other business when there is no information to get. Shredding documents should be a part of your everyday business. Shredding documents should not only be used for highly sensitive materials, it should be used for notes, and other records that could inadvertently provide information about your system.
8. Make Sure You Back It Up
The best IT security experts will tell you to make sure you have a backup and recovery plan in place just in case. You should always back up your systems, including devices. If the unthinkable happens and you have set regularly scheduled backups, it will be a lot easier to retrieve data.
Whether you provide pet grooming services or you are a doctor, it is essential that you can quickly recover client and patient data should there be a breach. Backing up your system will ensure that you can. Most good software comes with an option to schedule the backups automatically, which means you do not have to do anything extra to take advantage of one of the best IT security processes.
9. Have a Plan
If your system was compromised today what would you do? There is many small business owners that have no idea what they would do in that type of scenario. The best IT security works because it has a plan for just this type of scenario. It is important that you formulate a plan in case your system comes under attack.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals are not the only risk to your IT security. Natural disasters are also a threat. If a natural disaster struck in your area how would you continue services? Could you continue services?
These are questions every small business owner should be asking themselves when they are thinking about IT security and the best IT security practices for their business. Will you be able to continue working remotely? Cloud computing has solved many of these problems for small business owners. It may be something you should consider for your business. Cloud computing has evolved by leaps and bounds and can be a great solution for many small business owners.
10. Don’t Neglect Internet Security
This tip may sound rather elementary, but it is one of the best IT security tips and it often falls to the wayside. Internet security is essential to IT security. Businesses often become lax when it comes to internet security, but it is truly the backbone of everything else you do in your business. You should have a restricted us policy that every employee needs to sign. Make sure that it is served either via email or incorporated into the employee’s contract. Also, make sure it gets signed.
If there is a filter or traffic solution in place, be sure to audit it and that it is up to par for your specific needs. If this type of software is not present, install the software ASAP. Use password manager software that can generate unique passwords for each employee to log into the system.
Meet with your ISP provider and ask about their encryption for businesses and how they manage breaches. You may also want to consider a monitoring service that can help protect your IT system and alert you when there is anything strange happening. Investing in remote monitoring can help you to avoid some of the problems that you may face with an open network.
Of course, we touched on segmenting the network, and keeping internet access segmented is a good example of how that can work to your advantage. For example, you opened a new ford dealership and you want your guests to be able to have access to the internet while they are visiting the dealership. You certainly do not want them to have access to the workings of the business. Segmenting the network to allow for different types of logins can be an easy solution.
11. Consider Outsourcing Your IT Needs
These 10 best IT security tips are relatively easy to follow but there is one tip that you can follow that will take some of the stress out of the situation. You can opt to outsource your IT needs. Outsourcing IT management is highly popular for a reason. When you outsource your IT needs, someone else takes the responsibility for the best IT security.
Outsourcing IT needs is an affordable option that takes the worries out of IT security. If your plate is already full enough and you do not want to worry about IT security, then you should turn over the problem to a professional team that will ensure your IT stays secure. Learn more about your options and, in the meantime make sure you are taking steps to improve your IT security by following the best IT security tips.