When you run a business, dangers can come from anywhere—even from the web. Just like a fire or a break-in, online threats can do serious harm. That’s why cyber security, along with insurance, has become so vital for businesses today.
In this friendly guide, we’re going to share ten simple steps you can take to shield your online work and precious data from cyber threats. The aim is to make your business a safer place in the digital world.
1. Data Backups: A Safety Net for Your Information
Losing your data feels like a nightmare come true. One way to dodge this disaster is by making copies of your key files and documents, which is known as data backup. Think of it as keeping your digital valuables in a secure safety deposit box.
You can backup data on USB sticks or external hard drives, and it’s always smart to keep more than one copy. Also, remember to store your backups in a separate place from your business to guard against physical threats like fires or theft.
Some businesses prefer to use the cloud for data backup. This is a non-physical way of storing data and has its own checks to consider, such as picking a cloud provider with strong data encryption. Encryption is like a secret code that protects your data while it’s being transferred and stored.
2. Securing Your Network and Devices
Hackers are digital predators who are always on the prowl for a weak spot in your computer systems. That’s why you need to secure your network and devices against them.
Each piece of electronic equipment connected to your network should have strong, up-to-date security. This includes anti-virus, anti-spam, and anti-spyware software that’s regularly refreshed. Remember, cyber threats change almost daily, which means that today’s security risk might not be the same as tomorrow’s security threat.
3. Spam and Phishing – Don’t Take the Bait
You know those emails that promise a big prize if you click a link? They’re a common way viruses sneak into your business. By using spam filters and teaching your employees how to recognize and avoid phishing emails, you can reduce the chance of a security breach.
4. Encrypting Data – Scrambling the Message
Encrypting data is a bit like scrambling a message. Turning your data into a code that can only be read by someone with the right key. Encryption makes it tough for unauthorized people to understand your data, which makes it a crucial part of your cyber security routine.
5. Two-Step Verification – Double Checking Your Identity
Two-step verification is a type of login process where you need to provide two forms of identification to access an account or data storage. This makes it harder for hackers to break in because they would need both your password and another piece of information, such as a code sent to your phone. It’s a real-time security solution that gives you extra protection.
6. Strong Passwords – The Keys to Your Kingdom
Imagine your password is the key to your online kingdom. If it’s too simple, it’s like leaving your door unlocked. That’s why experts suggest using complex passwords, which they call passphrases. These are a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters, and they’re much harder for someone else to guess.
7. Removing Old Users – Out of Sight, Out of Mind
When an employee leaves your company, it’s important to remove their access to your system. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access or damage to your business. It’s a good idea to collect all company devices from an employee when they leave and to delete their user profile from your system.
8. User Education – Training Your Team
Your employees play a key role in your company’s cyber security. Make sure they know the rules and their responsibilities when it comes to online activity. This should include how to use computers and devices safely, how to handle email and data, and what to do if there’s a security issue.
If you have employees working from home, your rules might need to be adjusted to cover things like using personal devices or external drives.
9. Customer Data Protection – Guarding Their Trust
If your business keeps any personal data from your customers, you have a responsibility to protect it. This includes things like names, contact details, and credit card numbers. Make sure any online payment providers you use are trustworthy and secure. This helps protect you against data theft, legal issues, and a loss of trust from your customers.
10. Stay Up-to-Date and Outsmart the Threats
Cyber threats are always changing, which means your cyber security needs to evolve too. Regularly update your antivirus software and other protective measures. As your business grows, make sure your security measures keep pace.
In spite of our best efforts, sometimes a security breach can happen. That’s where cyber insurance comes in. It can help cover the losses from a breach and compensate any customers or clients who’ve been affected.
Here at Bi-me, we’re passionate about supporting small businesses with their cyber security needs. Remember, we’re all in this together; let’s keep our businesses safe from cyber threats!
*Disclaimer: The guide is general information only and does not take into account your financial situation, needs, or specific objectives. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions, and exclusions contained in the policy wording.