United States corporations have experienced a slew of cyber security breaches in the last year. Home Depot, Target, Sony, and more have had company and personal data thrown out into the open by computer hackers. The costs in every case have been substantial. Fortune 500 Companies and the Enterprise, however, are not the only organizations who can be susceptible to these types of vicious cyber-attacks. Small businesses, too, must invest the necessary time and resources to protect their organizational data and retain their customers’ trust. Here are four things every small business can do to avoid cyber security breaches.
- Develop Strong and Secure Passwords
Even in 2015 it is not uncommon for small businesses and their employees to use passwords that are easy to remember, or that are replicated for numerous accounts, to protect sensitive organizational and customer data. However, business owners must consider the security ramifications this can have for their business. Skilled hackers have a much better chance of accessing vital information through a password that is replicated across multiple channels or accounts, and that are very easy to remember without a lot of thought. Instead, businesses should consider developing strong and secure passwords using character combinations that are unique to each site, file, or account that you log into. Lisa Grossman, an industry expert recommends that your passwords “contain at least one letter, including one capital letter and one lowercase letter, at least one number and at least one symbol and punctuation mark” to be sufficiently secure.
- Train Your Employees
One of the most important things that small businesses can do to prevent cyber security breaches is to effectively train their employees. Company executives must work with senior management to grant employees access to data on an “as needed” basis, to avoid secure and sensitive data from falling into mismanaged hands. Additionally, companies should keep records of who has access to what organizational information. Finally, management should teach employees how to use strong passwords, as well as avoid and report spammy emails.
- Stay Current on Security Best Practices
To ensure that security breaches are sufficiently avoided, small business owners and executives should do their best to keep themselves up-to-date on cyber security threats and prevention tactics. Reading regularly about security software updates, about new ways hackers are exploiting computing networks, and how best to implement company-wide trainings will be incredibly beneficial to your organization. Staying up to date on security best practices will ensure that your company continues to operate smoothly, and that you earn the trust that your customers deserve.
About the Author
Scott has more than 29 years of professional product marketing and executive management experience in the high-tech industry. For the past six years Scott has worked for ProPay helping small businesses grow their businesses through online payment acceptance.
Scott earned dual bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University in Marketing and Finance. He also earned an MBA from Colorado State University.