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The Beginners Guide: Small Business Security Essentials

If you had one leak in your ship, just one tiny leak, would you consider this a minor issue? What if a space shuttle had a tiny hole in the hull? Would this be considered a tolerable flaw? Of course not. In both scenarios, even a small hole would be considered a disaster. Both of these analogies work perfectly with cybersecurity

The bottom line is that security is a complex matter that must be addressed from multiple aspects. Here’s a beginner’s guide to help you start solving this problem. 

1. Physical Security

It’s important to mention that a small business tends to be more concerned with digital threats. While these are important, you can’t neglect your physical security either. You see, the thing is that 7.5% of all files get misplaced… some of them might end up in the wrong hands (literally hands).

Then, there’s the question of unauthorized access to the premises, which is both a hazard and a security concern.

Remember that some of your employees are not as careful as they should be. They write their passwords on pieces of paper (so that they don’t forget about them and keep them out of the reach of hackers), but what happens when someone stumbles upon this piece of paper?

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To stay safe under all these circumstances, you need to figure out the questions of physical security. Who can enter the premises? What kind of identification do they need? Do they need an escort while they’re on the premises? By answering these few questions, you’ll already elevate the average level of safety. 

2. Better Tools

You must understand that using the right tools can automatically elevate your business security. How you handle your documents is the key aspect of your small business security. After all, in these documents, there is information that could make or break your business. 

Then, let’s talk about antivirus and antimalware. While even free antivirus is better than no antivirus, you may want to see what kind of package deals you can access as an enterprise. Paying a premium for the enterprise-wide coverage is a great deal that you have to take.

Keep in mind that when outfitting your office, you’re in a position where you can tend to the networking solutions from the ground up. This way, you can even set up a better firewall solution for your business.

Most importantly, you must understand that your audience won’t just work with office computers. Some of them might bring devices of their own. In that scenario, what you’re looking at is a potential problem, a problem that a BYOD policy could fix.  

3. Training and Awareness

Your employees are both your bulwark against threats and your greatest liability. The thing is that, without proper training. They won’t know how to act under these circumstances.

Even something as simple as coming up with a password can be problematic. Just think about it, some platforms prevent you from registering if your password isn’t “strong” enough. This means they insist on having at least one number, symbol, and capital letter and a password longer than eight characters. They’re trying to randomize your passwords, but you can make mistakes even while following these rules. For instance, is:

  • P@ssword1 

A good password?

Of course not, but how? After all, it abides by all of these rules. The truth is that there’s much more to cybersecurity than just a few rules. It’s not too much to learn but too much to understand intuitively. 

Passwords are not the only area where this is the case. What about phishing, downloading suspicious files, or using other people’s devices (potentially with keyloggers) to access business platforms (or business email)? There’s so much you need to warn your team about; the sooner you start, the better. 

4. Access and Restrictions

Since dawn, organizations have restricted access on a need-to-know basis. Even in war, a common soldier doesn’t know the full order of battle or even the battle plan. They just know what they need to know to do their duty. They recognize their unit’s and adjacent units’ insignia and know whose orders to follow.

Why is that the case? 

Well, imagine what the martial world would be like if you could just capture a single soldier and get all the information about the opposing side. A similar thing is taking place in the business world, as well.

Using platforms that allow you to choose the level of access that your employees have is a great safety measure.

While an NDA is a great way to protect some information, not all sensitive data is leaked on purpose. Also, you can’t always prove who breached an NDA. To summarize, while an NDA is generally a great thing, it’s not ironclad or infallible. If you want to create an NDA for your company, make sure to use a reliable NDA template.

5. Backups and Data Protection

Your company’s data can be the downfall of your enterprise if you compromise it or allow it to fall into the wrong hands. This is why data must be encrypted on both ends and in transit.

Also, it’s important to stress that losing data happens in more ways than one. It’s not just about your data being stolen. It’s also about losing data in other ways, either due to a system error or something along those lines. 

Now, with backup tools and a data recovery plan, no files should be lost forever. The key thing is that you make regular backups and use cloud-based tools. Many people are concerned with cloud security, but this is just a myth from the early days of cloud technology and has very little basis in reality. The truth is that these cloud-based services usually have far superior security than anything a small business could afford. 

Wrap-Up

Keep in mind that security comes in many shapes and forms, and so do threats. This is why you need to protect the entirety of your enterprise. You must train your employees, raise awareness, and provide them with the necessary tools. Your data requires a standalone approach. Lastly, you can’t afford to neglect your cybersecurity either.  

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