Security tips you can act on todayRoddy Bergeron
SMBs need security measures as much as large corporations do. They aren’t hard to install, and you can probably do everything you need to do in a single day. You need to secure the computers in the office, but employees should also secure their laptops and smartphones as they can be easily lost or stolen, and an outside party may get access to company information. Try these security tips to help keep your business data safe.
Password management software
Password management should be a top priority. Most computers and smartphones have password management software built-in, but you don’t want to put an easy-to-remember password on a computer, laptop or smartphone.
Most experts recommend using a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. The password should be at least eight characters long, and more is better – in fact, adding extra characters is more effective than mixing character types. Don’t write down the password: memorize it. You can do this if you use an identifiable word and pepper it with symbols, numbers and upper-case letters.
Two-factor authentication (2FA or TFA) adds an extra measure of security to your computer. Your password may get hacked, but two-factor authentication – such as having to respond to a text message as well as entering a password, or entering a code from a security dongle – will require you to add a third measure of security. It’s not always foolproof, but it adds more security to sensitive data.
Too many SMBs fail to put firewalls to effective use. A firewall is there to protect computers and other devices from having data flowing in from internet sites and flowing out of your business. Firewall software is easy to find and takes mere minutes to install.
Don’t settle for free antivirus software. Pay for full protection against a variety of threats. Antivirus software is not expensive, and it can be the best protection against hackers, viruses and other nasty threats that come through when you’re online. Always update the antivirus software when alerted of a new version. The updates are there to protect against recent threats to your online security.
Secure your laptops and mobile phones
Laptops and mobile phones can get lost or stolen. Someone with access to a laptop or mobile phone has access to important company data. Some measures you can take include adding a ‘lock out’ feature to the password. If someone tries a few passwords, they can be locked out. Encryption software will help protect a laptop or mobile phone. Without the correct password, the encryption software will make it impossible to read documents and other sensitive information.
If a laptop or mobile phone is stolen or lost, you will want to wipe data from it. You can do this remotely if you enable remote wiping, and it can be done from any connected device, such as an office computer.
Back up your data
What if all your information was lost? An easy and safe way to back up your data is to use a cloud service. Cloud services are free for limited amounts of data and inexpensive if you need to add more. They can be very secure too, requiring you to use a password. You can share files with co-workers by simply using a share facility and the co-worker’s email address. Only they will have access to the files, or you can add more email addresses as needed.
Educate your employees
Security is only as good as the first leak. Every employee should be informed of ways to secure their computers, laptops and mobile phones, and they should make securing them their first order of business.
This is probably the most important security measure of all: if your staff aren’t security-aware, then even the most sophisticated systems can be overcome with alarming ease. So, don’t leave it till tomorrow – talk to your staff, and implement some technological measures, today.