Small business owners have a million things to worry about. When you throw security into the mix, and the headache multiplies tenfold.
Most small businesses are in the process of building their brand, reputation, and goodwill. And there is no way you can take a knock on any of these while you are still trying to find your feet.
And that, unfortunately, is exactly what a security breach or a lawsuit does. There are plenty of shady characters out there who are constantly evolving ways to get into other people’s pockets.
Cybercrime is estimated to cost the global economy close to $445 billion every year. About 40 million people, or roughly 15% of Americans, have had their personal data and information stolen by hackers last year. More than 3000 companies have been hacked into in 2013 in the US, with small businesses neatly essaying the role of sitting ducks.
Experts say that prolific hackers use sophisticated technology to attack a bunch of businesses in one stroke, and yours may very well be the next.
Online threats are real and distressing but so are the ones offline. Don’t lose trust in humanity; there are ways you can get yourself out of the danger zone.
Let’s have a look at how you can protect your business against potential dangers.
Keep Your Company Safe from Cybercrime
It is extremely important you keep the financial information and the vital customer and employee data of your company safe and secure. There are many things out there that can potentially damage you financial stability.
Most online financial frauds involve identity theft, phishing, and misappropriation of funds. You need to strictly forbid employs from visiting dubious sites, clicking on spam links, or sharing any information online with anybody.
In many cases of phishing, employees click through links and end up depositing a small nugget of malware in their system that leaves their PC open to further attacks. Many also inadvertently share information with fraudulent sites and virtually see company bank accounts wiped out in a matter of minutes.
As a fledgling company, you may not have the resources to employ an army of cybercrime experts. But there are many small steps you can take that can keep your data and dollars secure and safe. These security measures do not cost a fortune either.
The first step you need to take is to backup all data to safe off-site locations. Real time backup allows your business to continue to function smoothly even in the event of thefts, or other unfortunate incidents like fire or floods.
Install business-use standard security software that is sufficient to secure your company’s tech infrastructure. It ensures multi-device protection and also provides automatic updates and security patches, and is capable of dealing with all emergencies.
No matter what platform you use, ensure there are secure passwords for every device – be it laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones, which touch your business.
Data encryption is a must if you want your vital and sensitive data secure. There is no success for the criminals, if after all the hard work what they lay their hands on is encrypted data.
Quality malware protection gives added security to your devices.
Stay Away from Lawsuits
A legal wrangle can drain your resources like nothing else. And lawsuits can come from anywhere.
As a business owner you obviously are in a position of responsibility and influence. Watch your words and actions, because you are being watched.
Do not say anything that can be considered libelous or slanderous. Conduct your business with trusted and reputed parties only. Even if you are not directly involved in any illegal transaction, being associated with dubious names can nudge you into unfavorable spotlight and damaging media attention.
Social media is the place to be and should rightly be so. But watch your comments, tweets, likes and shares with a hawk eye. If you don’t have flair or taste for the new things employ someone who does, or hire a part-time social media specialist.
He or she will ensure you remain relevant on the Internet and do not commit any silly rookie mistakes. Remember that nastiness, name-calling, racial taunts, and competitor-bashing can land you in a legal mess.
Seek the services of a competent attorney, or a tax consultant if you can afford it. He will be able to guide you on local and state tax laws, insurance policies, and other financial regulations. He should also be able to guide you in other cases pertaining to legal or government-related issues.
Always make sure you do your groundwork well regarding the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) guidelines and other rules applicable to you. It is always better to err on the side of safety because a lapse or a mistake can prove costly.
Secure Your Premises
Infrastructure is one of the biggest investments small businesses make.
With all the attention being paid to cybercrime and potential hackers, it is very easy to lose sight of the neighborhood burglar doing rounds of your office building. What if he breaks in and makes off with your computers, servers, fax machines and all the other fanciful gadgets you have purchased?
Can your business survive a complete redo and a re-investment in acquiring new infrastructure?
Security systems tailor-made for home needs may suffice, but there are several products out there that are customized and certified to meet the unique needs of small businesses.
Install the best business security camera systems for protection. They act as powerful deterrents to most thieves and also provide you clues in case they do manage to break in.
Integrated security systems pack in quite a powerful punch. They alert you to a break-in, set off alarms and dispatch police or fire crew when needed. They also provide video surveillance, controls to the HVAC system, and even help you power down the equipment in your office.
A good security system is a long-term investment which pays for itself handsomely.
A small business occupies its owner 24/7. Take care of the basic security issues and you will have more space in your mind to ponder over your business. It will also secure your peace of mind.