Security breaches can be complex, far-reaching, and have a major and long-lasting impact on your business.
It’s critical to be proactive.
Don’t wait until you have a security breach to beef up your prevention and protection!
Growing businesses are not only responsible for safeguarding their own data but are now responsible for protecting the information of potential and current clients.
With National Cyber Security Month just passing, here are a few tips to help close some security holes in your small business:
One of the biggest security holes and major causes of data breaches within small businesses is employees.
With absolutely no bad intentions, employees are simply unaware of how best to store and protect your company’s data in the most secure way.
While educating employees on good cybersecurity practices is nothing new, it’s vital to the security of your business that you educate your employees on things such as:
- How to properly dispose of documents containing personally identifiable information.
- Knowing how to recognize potential phishing emails or suspicious email attachments.
- Creating strong passwords for their business accounts.
- Not accessing sensitive business data on personal devices.
Internet of Things (IoT)
There is a reason you want to train your employees to have strong passwords for their business accounts.
Poor passwords are often the cause of IoT-related security breaches, a major security hole in many small businesses.
IoT devices are often easy targets for hackers to exploit due to their poor security features.
To close up the security hole and protect your internet-connected devices take the following precautions:
- If possible, password protect your IoT devices.
- Change the default password that so many IoT devices come with immediately.
- Secure IoT devices such as your network printer which is an easy access point to your entire network for hackers, or get a Xerox printer with security features like ConnectKey which requires a password, key card, or mobile device authentication allowing access only to authorized users.
- Regularly perform security updates on all of your IoT devices and host networks.
- Make informed decisions as a consumer when purchasing products for your small business—is this a connected device and do you have the capability to secure an IoT device?
Voice recognition is one of the coolest tech features, and it can also make your work life so much easier.
You can dictate a text message or email hands-free.
You can make lists and restock office supplies without having to pause the task you are working on.
It’s like having your very own virtual assistant in the palm of your hand or sitting on the top of your desk.
But, with the advent of things like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, comes a whole new cybersecurity threat.
These devices could be a way to collect information.
Imagine if your device was able to give someone access to every conversation in your workplace.
Private or confidential meetings with or about clients could be compromised.
An attack using voice recognition software like this would be time-consuming for the attacker, and although unlikely, it would only probably happen in a very targeted manner.
Although it’s not expected to be widely used to directly conduct cyber-attacks, it could have an impact to your small business with regard to data collection and the privacy of you, your employees, and your clients.
To mitigate the risks and protect your small business be sure to:
- Secure the network you are operating the device on.
- Install antivirus software on the device.
- Turn off the microphone when not in use.
- Block or password protect the purchasing feature.
- Perform updates frequently.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The best protection against a cybersecurity breach is prevention.
Even if your employees are well-trained and compliant, and you think you’ve secured all of your IoT and voice devices, cybersecurity is becoming a job too immense for humans to tackle alone.
Artificial Intelligence is racing to bridge that gap.
AI platforms can simulate targeted network attacks, exposing vulnerabilities and providing solutions to security holes.
Over time, the AI platform actually learns as threats evolve and is able to maintain cybersecurity better than any human could ever hope to on their own.
But, humans aren’t out of the equation altogether just yet.
AI hasn’t progressed to the point where it’s capable of creating its own simulated cyber-attack and needs input from human cybersecurity experts.
The lesson: be careful and make sure your security practices are proactive rather than reactive.
Take every device into account and don’t forget about Voice, IoT, and AI.
Of course, also remember the “basics” of security.
Use security passwords.
Enable 2-factor authentication.
Use complex passwords.
Be careful when using public WiFi.