Cybersecurity is constantly threatened. With our growing dependence on technology, you have to ask the question: Is my business taking the proper security measures to keep information safe for my customers and myself?
As society operates in this digital age, technology has helped commerce become easier, automated, and organized. Online accounting systems, cloud-based data storage, and CRM software for customer relationship management have all become a part of our digital business tool belt. This convenience also comes with a challenge – keeping this precious data secure.
As technology continues to make life easier, it’s crucial to recognize that security needs to remain a top priority, even for small business owners – and cybercriminals don’t discriminate by business size. It only takes one issue to lose the trust of a customer forever. . This is why Apple was firm about not unlocking an iPhone for the FBI when requested recently; they felt it betrayed the trust of iPhone customers worldwide. You may not be Apple, but you do have customers who rely on you. Here are some ways to protect their information.
Use strong passwords
This is the first line of defense against cyberattacks. Yes, your dog may be adorable and he plays a mean game of fetch, but that doesn’t make “buddy” a suitable password for your email marketing list. Your customers are counting on you to be a bit more creative, so make sure your passwords are complex, not easily hacked, and changed often. Instead of “buddy,” try a more random phrase including numbers and characters, such as “BuddytheD0g23&7.” See how that code would be harder to break? While 72 percent of Americans believe their accounts are secure, the most common passwords in America are “123456” and “password.”
Create a written security policy
If your business has multiple employees, then a written security policy is a must. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them and what is appropriate. Are they authorized to log in to a company server on a personal computer? Can they take their work computer home? These are basic questions that need to be addressed when creating an information security policy. The Federal Communications Commission offers the Small Biz Cyber Planner—a free online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans.
Create an emergency action plan
The acronym EAP, or emergency action plan, is widely used in the medical response field for disaster relief, but shouldn’t your business also have a contingency plan in place for emergencies? Even when taking the proper precautions, accidents happen. If you do have a data breach, how will you respond? Do you have a press release drafted? Is there an option to remotely wipe information from a stolen computer? Begin to brainstorm the worst-case scenarios, and address your game plan before bad things happen.
Host your information on a (very) secure outsourced server
Unless your company is in the cybersecurity business, you probably can’t handle this on your own. There are many reputable companies that specialize in security programs and secure hosting solutions. Cloud storage and tightly secured networks must be expertly managed to reduce the risk of data seizure, privacy loss or business interruption. IT providers are critical to your business, but specialized cybersecurity experts can provide an extra layer of protection in anticipating and mitigating threats. Many of them offer free online checkups on your devices.
Back up everything
Today, nearly everything is stored in the cloud. Although it’s a convenient option, you need to make sure you are using the cloud securely. What if the cloud is unavailable or if there is a security breach? Can you operate your business without it? By backing up your information on a local network or hard-drive, you can ensure it is always in your possession and never lost. Backup should be automated and checked periodically.
Your business customers are counting on you to not only maintain, but improve your cybersecurity. A secure business is a profitable one. The trust that comes from having a secure business on the web has become a competitive advantage. Of course, upgrading technology measures can also require additional cash on hand – so contact Crestmark to learn more about our flexible lending solutions, including equipment financing for your business. As always, we’re in business to see your company grow and succeed. Call us at 888-999-8050.