No business, regardless of size, is immune to cybercriminals. Even well-known companies such as Home Depot, Target and TJ Maxx have been targeted by hackers. In today's technological environment, you have to stay on top of all types of threats to data security and integrity, right from your hardware through your employees. Never assume that your business is too small for cybercriminals to target.
Challenges businesses have in securing data range from hacking into a local network to having an employee tricked by a phishing email or phone call. If your applications and data are stored in the cloud, you have a better chance of avoiding issues as long as you choose a cloud company that stays on top of the highest security technology.
Security risk examples include hacking into a cloud account, hacking into a local network, phishing emails and phone calls, obtaining information from documents that are not properly disposed of, obtaining information old hard drives and other storage hardware that has been discarded, old computers and even your employees themselves.
Phishing attacks may come in the form of spam and emails that look like they come from legitimate companies, including banks. You could have the best security in place but the one person that clicks through one of these emails just gave all of your company's information to a cybercriminal. Ensuring that websites you visit have SSL protection and having firewalls and anti-spam software help minimize phishing attempts.
Weak passwords are another huge security risk. Employees should have strong passwords with at least one capital letter, one number and one special character. Additionally, passwords should be encrypted and should be changed every 60 to 90 days.
Make sure all devices that are used for business, even the employee's personal devices have all of the updated security patches. Keep all data encrypted. And advise employees not to pick up USB drives they might find in the parking lot. A hacker may have infected it with spyware and dropped it intentionally.
Another huge problem is a rogue employee. Someone who is not happy with his or her job may cause serious damage by leaking information about your security, sending out data or even planting spyware on your network. Always do background checks on employees to minimize this risk.
While you may not be able to eliminate some of the greatest IT security concerns facing small businesses, with education and knowledge, you should be able to minimize those risks.
A security risk is anything or anyone that has access to your data. Employees, mobile devices and even your own network may be a security risk. Social media is also a major security risk. New pathways into the business from new clients and customers are a security risk. The risks and threats of company data finding its way into a cybercriminal's hands are high, even if you have a top-notch security plan in place.
If you assume that employees do not know how to protect data, emails are not secure and fax machines are not ever secure, you will be able to minimize your security risks by implementing a security plan to encrypt data, educate employees and take other steps.
Although most businesses are digital, they still have hard copies of documents. In addition to IT security, you must also have security in place for paper documents, old hard drives and other storage media that is no longer in use. Carolina Shred provides locked boxes to store old documents and hardware. We'll also pick it up on a regular basis and properly shred it. Once your documents and hardware are shredded, you'll get a receipt showing that everything was properly shredded.