If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve seen THIS page from the Federal Communications Commission or even THIS page from the US Small Business Administration.
However, the articles lack… execution. It’s nice and all to know what to be wary of but it would be even nicer to know how you could actually do it on your own.
Remember the good old days when businesses offer tangible products and deal with actual tangible money? Simple times. Nowadays, you’d have a hard time finding someone that actually goes into a store to purchase something. Everything’s digital now. Whether its payment, data acquisition, or just plain correspondence - everyone uses some sort of online service now to cover almost every facet of their lives.
Same goes for your small business. Technology provides you with the power to reach new markets, increase your operations effectively and efficiently, as well as establish security practices in order to protect sensitive information.
Sounds nice and easy, right?
First off, let’s establish WHY you need IT security for your small business.
If you’re a small business offering products and services, what would be the most important thing for you to protect? Your business? Payment information? Consumer behavior? Yes, yes, and yes. However, it could be summarized in one word: data. You have to protect your data with utmost importance. Why? Because successful businesses have always formed business decisions based on some sort of data.
Now what does this have to do with IT security? Okay - imagine gathering data through surveys, email campaigns, or manually talking to customers and then losing all of it because your systems were hacked, a virus fried your system, or maybe *knocks on wood* your office gets flooded and all your hardware gets destroyed.
Sounds frustrating right? Don’t worry, things aren’t as helpless as they seem.
Don’t think that because you’re a small business owner, you’re automatically going to be immune to security breaches since no one would be interested in your business.
Get. That. Out. Of. Your. Head.
Truth is, attacks can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. No matter how small or big your business is, there will be someone out there that will try and access your documents. Whether it be for money, for your client list, or for your sensitive financial information, these hackers will always find a way.
Thankfully, we’re here to help. Let ETech 7 walk you through why your small business needs IT security. Even if you think you don’t.
Are passwords important? Does two factor authentication really work? Is it necessary for your employees to know the difference between a legitimate link and a harmful one?
We can’t emphasize this enough. Strong usernames and passwords play a vital role in making sure that your accounts are secure. And backing that username and password combination with two factor authentication makes it almost 100% secure. We said almost because it still depends on the two factor authentication method that you use. Having one set up, regardless of which two factor authentication method, already gives you another layer of security measure to safeguard your data.
“Think of this as an investment - spending a couple of hours for a presentation about basic security principles would help your employees determine which sites to avoid, spot sketchy emails, and perform basic troubleshooting methods. This basic preventative measure would not only save you grief in fixing a computer that was infected because an employee “just didn’t know” but also avoid probable downtime for your company,” says Emil Isanov, CEO, ETech 7.
Still unconvinced? Here’s a video Google developed on creating a strong password:
In addition - and we couldn’t stress this enough as well - a proper information and training session for your employees about spotting sketchy websites, opening suspicious emails, or just generally taking safety precautions while using company devices would go a long way.
It’s 2019 - you’ve probably heard about antiviruses by now. But do you really know what it does and how it works? Basically, an antivirus software keeps your system in check. It serves as sort of the gatekeeper for the infections that might want to invade your system.
However, there are more to antiviruses than you might think. Take a look at a list that we’ve developed below about why antiviruses are good for your system:
1. The most obvious one: Virus Protection
Almost every antivirus software - if installed - protect your system from viruses, spyware, malware, and even phishing attacks. Antivirus software have free and premium offerings. There are a lot of arguments when it comes to free vs paid but the main thing to nail down is what YOU, as a business, really need.
For us at ETech 7 - we firmly believe that antiviruses provide another layer of protection for your systems. Depending on whether or not you availed of the free or premium package, antiviruses may or may not be foolproof but it will likely catch and resolve any type attack before it can do any real damage.
2. Hacking Protection
Take a friend that I have known since we were children - he started his own vape juice store online but didn’t have the proper security measures for his websites and social media accounts. Bad reviews poured onto his website saying things like “Charged but product not delivered, don’t waste your time” or reviews like “Unresponsive customer service, payment information exposed wouldn’t buy from this site again.” For any sane business owner, reviews act as sort of a lifeblood. And one bad review could make or break a company.
Yes, it’s that serious.
What did we find out when diagnosing his system? Someone has hacked his website and farming data (we don’t know why but our best guess is to hold as ransomware later on) for about two months since it went live. The professional we hired says it’s probably a third-party integration that my friend used to manage his database. Creepy but nowadays, that’s just real life.
A good antivirus program will protect you while you surf the Internet, preventing hackers from gaining access to sensitive information like bank account and credit card information. Most antivirus software include firewall protection configured to block any unauthorized connections to your system/network/computer.
3. Ads and Spam Protection
Antivirus programs, usually in premium subscriptions, also include basic Internet protection. Nowadays, most viruses are delivered through different types of spam attacks.
This is where The Basics part of the article comes in - spending a couple of hours for a presentation about basic security principles would help employees determine which sites to avoid, which emails are sketchy, and have enough know-how to perform basic troubleshooting methods.
BONUS PRO TIP:
Hire a Professional - Managed IT Services are the way to go!
You might be asking - if it’s as simple as installing an antivirus, doing a quick seminar with my employees, and ensuring that I have Internet protection, why should I hire a professional?
Short answer: Peace of mind.
Instead of spending your time learning these stuff then educating your employees about the different types of Internet pitfalls, why not just focus on growing your business?
You might be rolling your eyes but please - hear us out!
Managed IT service providers exist to help your business cover your IT needs which, in turn, allow businesses to lower costs and become more effective in its day-to-day operations. These services may vary from server management, customer support, server backup, to - you guessed it - network security.
And, as we’ve talked about before, data is king in today’s world. Almost every single business decision now relies on acquired data. That’s where we, as managed IT service providers, come in.
“Managed IT service providers oversee large data centers and put multiple layers of protection in place,” says Isanov. “However, users may still be breached by hackers. It is of utmost importance to understand that as technology improves, the type of attacks become more intricate as well. All hope's not lost though - as long as each security layer is kept up to date, we would be able to see attacks from a mile away.”
- Determine what YOU - as a small business - need! It’s easy enough to say that you need this and you need that but it’s also another thing to know exactly WHY you need them. Makes sense?
- A 15 to 30-minute presentation about basic Internet security for your staff could go a long way.
- Antiviruses are your best friend.
- Look into Managed IT services - it’s the next big thing.
Still unconvinced? ETech 7 offers a free network check for your business. Check out the form below and schedule a meeting today!