There have been a series of highly publicized security breaches in recent months. There have been thousands more unreported by small businesses. Small business are as much a target as larger business because hackers are using automated scripts to find and exploit vulnerabilities with little effort.
By following these best practices, you can reduce the risk of a breach in your small business.
- Use antivirus software on every computer: Any is better than none, but the most effective antivirus software will tie in to your IT service provider or in house IT department’s monitoring dashboard so they can proactively address issues before they impact your business.
- Maintain 3rd party security patches: Most commonly, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Oracle Java JRE, Apple Quicktime and Adobe Air are installed on just about every computer and need to be regularly updated to patch security vulnerabilities. Without these regularly discovered vulnerabilities patched, simply browsing to a website could allow malicious software onto your computer.
- Implement offsite data backups: Your data backups should report their success or failure to you or your IT services provider, but most importantly they should run automatically with no interaction. It’s also important that they support versioning, because recent attacks have resulted in data on infected networks being encrypted, then backed up. Your backup provider must be able to go back several days or weeks to find good copies of your data.
- Separate guest traffic from internal traffic on your wireless network: If your guests and your staff aren’t using separate wifi passwords, your guests might have carte blanche to access any confidential network resources. Your wireless access point should be broadcasting a separate network for guests, and guest policies should be enabled to limit guest access.
- Encrypt your hard drive: If your computer is stolen, accessing unencrypted data on its hard drive is trivial, even if it is password protected. Encryption is essential to protecting sensitive data.
- Encrypt sensitive emails: Don’t send sensitive information over email unless your email platform provides the ability for you to encrypt it first.
- Use a spam filter on your email server: The easiest way for a hacker to infect a network is to send email to users enticing them to click a link or an attachment. Hackers have become very adept at enticing users with subject lines like, “Your Paypal account is on hold”, “Payroll Reports”, “Your order confirmation”. If you’re receiving lots of unfiltered spam in your inbox, you’re at greater risk.