Starting a new business involves so many details that it can be near-impossible to keep track. The tech world is one of the more complicated of these components, owing to how quickly the landscape of technology can evolve.
Failing to keep up can create significant complications down the road, so it’s best to get ahead of the curve whenever possible. Of course, it’s only natural for even tech enthusiasts to occasionally let something slip their minds, so to help, we’ve created this article.
Though not every suggestion might apply to your business, at least consider what they mean, and you’ll be in a better place once your business is up and running.
Testing Active Systems
This first suggestion applies just as much to active businesses as newcomers in that you need to be able to run tests to ensure your systems are safe. You might assume your network is protected because you’ve had no issues, but this isn’t always true. Sometimes you might have a hole just waiting to be exploited, which needs to be addressed.
As CyberGhost highlights, one of the best ways to check for vulnerabilities is to hire the skills of an ethical hacker. These people are experts in breaking into systems, and if they can find a flaw to exploit, you can be pretty sure that actual bad actors can too.
Join Our Small Business Community
Get the latest news, resources and tips to help you and your small business succeed.
Hiring an ethical hacker might seem extreme, but the hacking problem isn’t going away. It’s only growing bigger. Cybercrime is now more profitable than the global drug trade, and hackers are creating 300,000 new pieces of malware every day. One exposed flaw in your network can open you to theft and ransomware, with obvious negative connotations.
Fully Updating a Network
A computer network is only as strong as its weakest point, which can be a huge hurdle for larger computer networks. A modern business can have dozens of devices connected to a network, and if any one of these is out-of-date or improperly configured, it can act as an access point for intruders.
Addressing this concern requires a multifaceted approach, starting cybersecurity training for employees, as we’ve discussed at StartupGuys before. We can begin only once your staff knows the systems’ basics.
From the software side of the equation, businesses must keep their programs up-to-date and run the latest security apps. TechRepublic has a great breakdown of programs you can use here, but all of these can be useless if they operate on their most recent versions.
The most-skilled hackers can move to exploit newly discovered weaknesses right away, so automating updates at the end of the day or during a lunch break can be a must.
Running regular scans is just as important, where systems must be checked to ensure nothing has made its way in. Tripwire explains that some malware can remain dormant, so even if you have a break-in, you might have time to find and eliminate the threat before it metastasizes. Scans before shutting down at the end of the day combined with real-time protection are again good practice here.
Avoiding Hardware Risks
Professional testing and strong software can protect against many threats, but they can fall short regarding direct hardware connections. Many businesses allow employees to bring in their own devices and connect to the network, usually in the form of laptops and cell phones.
Even if specific work laptops are given out, you can never really be sure what employees use them for in their spare time, so these systems must have security just as strong as network systems. Most importantly, if a device is acting strange or performing slowly, it absolutely shouldn’t be connected to a business network until the reason is found.
We’d also caution about USB connections, which have multiple new ways to cause threats. Drop attacks, where tempting drives are left in public, have been growing recently, where users curious to check possible contents can end up introducing themselves to malware. Another possible threat comes from oddly looking public USB charging systems. According to the Guardian, a tactic called ‘juice jacking’ can install malware this way, so if a port looks off, don’t use it.
Finally, businesses also need to have a plan in place if the worst comes to term. Break-ins can occur even with the best practices and software, and the risk can be total data loss. This can be the case with ransomware especially, and as we’ve covered at StartupGuys, data backups can be a godsend to prevent this issue. Keeping regular data backups to a cloud-based service can turn the worst attacks into mere annoyances, and it’s best to look ahead to prevent this issue before it can arise.
Every new piece of technology in business introduces another possibility of exploitation. The reality of this truth and the growing importance of the tech world means that adapting to new security practices will always be a part of business life.
It can be intimidating, but the tools and methods today are more user-friendly than ever, and without them, a business puts itself and its customers at risk. Take regular steps, stay diligent, and you’ll be ready to face whatever comes next.