Opening a small business is a lifelong dream for many that often takes years to get off the ground. We’re often so focused on growth, profits, and business-building dreams that we can let things like cybersecurity and online safety fall to the wayside. Unfortunately, cybercrime is on the rise with an 11 percent increase from 2017 to 2018, as reported by Accenture. The average cost of cybercrime in 2018 also came with a $13 million price tag showing a 12 percent jump from the previous year.
Those numbers may sound grim but they shouldn’t derail your business dreams. It just gives protecting your business a greater sense of urgency. Get started with these business protection tips and take proactive steps to protect your online safety.
Protect Your Digital Information
A simple password isn’t enough to keep your data safe. Your digital information can be exposed every time an email is sent, or data is exchanged online. Protect your digital information by beefing up your security with an encrypted server, firewall, and anti-malware software or monitoring service. You can also keep your digital information safe by limiting who has access to it. Only hand over passwords to your software and other programs on a need-to-know basis, and ensure protocols are followed like using two-factor authentication for passwords.
But what if company or employee information is breached? Don’t wait until you or your employees see alarming activity on credit reports or bank accounts. Use a service like LifeLock that monitors for fraudulent activity to stop identity theft before it gets started. It’s a far more proactive way to protect your employees, yourself, and your company information.
Put Your Back-up on Autopilot
Backing up your data is a crucial step to keeping your business safe. Whether you face a natural disaster that wipes out your servers and devices or you end up with corrupt data, you need a way to back it up quickly to restore business operations. It’s also not uncommon for hackers to engage in ransomware tactics that hold your data hostage unless you pay a steep fine. Use an encrypted service like Backblaze that automatically backs up your data and encrypts it so your information stays safe.
Educate Your Employees
Your most robust data protection for your business only goes so far if your employees aren’t on board. Make cybersecurity and data safety part of your work culture by hosting regular meetings, check-ins, and status reports regarding safety. Train each employee about regularly changing their passwords, only using encrypted servers and emails, and safeguarding their personal devices. If you allow your employees to access work emails and servers through their smartphone, you could be opening the door to hackers through personal apps. Come up with an action plan on what types of data and information can be accessed and downloaded and on what devices.
It’s tempting to put your business’ data security off for another day when we can’t really see what’s going on behind our servers and apps. But leaving data unprotected opens your business up to vulnerabilities and financial risks. Take a proactive approach to protect your business from identity theft monitoring to educating your employees on all things security. It could mean the difference between continued business growth and shuttering your doors.