You would be hard-pressed to find any business operating today that doesn’t lean heavily on its IT systems for support. Even businesses that don’t use their IT systems as part of their day to day operations are still reliant on them for keeping their books in order, communicating with other businesses and customers via email, managing their website and social media profiles, and a whole host of other tasks.
Of course, many businesses are dependent on their IT systems in order to function properly. For these businesses, there is simply no room for an IT meltdown, and it is absolutely essential that their systems are kept secure and operational.
Wherever your business sits on this spectrum, you should make securing your IT systems a priority. Whether you are at the helm of a thriving business with a rapidly-increasing IT infrastructure, or you are a sole trader with a single laptop to manage your business from, the following tips can help you to keep your IT systems safe and secure.
Use Secure Passwords
This is perhaps the most basic security tip out there, but it is also one of the most important. This is a logical starting point for any business owner who is looking to improve their security, it is something that anyone can do, even if they have absolutely no experience or knowledge when it comes to cybersecurity.
There are two key components to a secure password system – you need to make sure that the individual passwords you use are secure and not easily guessed, then you need to make sure that every password you use is different. Formulating secure passwords doesn’t have to be difficult. For example, you can devise your own formula for constructing passwords, which will also mean that you don’t have to remember every individual password.
A secure password will consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and ideally a special character – !,@,?,*, etc. You can create passwords by combining the name of the thing you are password-protected, a random password, a numerical sequence, and then the special characters that share a key with those numbers on your keyboard.
So, if you wanted a secure password for accessing your business’s books, you could choose something like ‘BooksWatermelon2435”$£%’.
Of course, a simpler alternative for many people is to use a password manager. A password manager can not only remember your passwords for you, but it can also generate highly secure and complex passwords whenever you need them.
Hire Conscientious Staff
Having dependable and knowledgeable staff managing your IT infrastructure will go a long way to ensuring the long-term security of your systems. Of course, recruitment is often challenging for small businesses, especially if you aren’t hugely knowledgeable about IT and cybersecurity, to begin with.
Fortunately, there is a service out there like Match-IT. With Match-IT, you complete a simple questionnaire to assess your personality, skill level, and the needs of your business. They will then compare your test results with the results of IT technicians in order to find the ideal candidate for your needs.
If you want peace of mind and reassurance about the security of your IT systems, having it overseen by staff that you can trust will make a big difference. No one wants to be constantly worrying about the potential consequences of a serious IT or data breach. Not only can these things damage you financially, but they can also cause serious reputational damage to your business.
Practice Proper Access Management
Another simple security tip that can make an enormous difference to the security of your systems is practicing proper access management. Access management means making sure that only people who have a legitimate reason to access individual databases or systems are able to do so. This can be achieved by password-protecting parts of your network, or it can be achieved by creating different types of users on your network, with each type having different access control permissions, and assigning each user to the appropriate group.
Preventing users from being able to access data and systems that they have no need to will massively reduce the scope for data breaches and leaks to occur. Another important reason for restricting user access on your network is to protect your network as a whole in the event of a breach. With proper access permissions in place, a single compromised account won’t grant an attacker access to your entire network, only a small part of it.
Teach Everyone About Common Attack Vectors
A little bit of education goes a very long way when it comes to cybersecurity. By teaching your staff about the most common attack vectors, how to spot them, and how to avoid falling victim to them, you will be protecting your business from the most common forms of attack.
For example, phishing attacks are easy to spot but are devastatingly effective against those who don’t know what to look for. Make it clear to your employees that they should always be on the lookout for suspicious emails and should never hand over their login credentials after clicking an email link.
Similarly, social engineering attacks are easy to spot and defend against, but all it takes is one unprepared worker who doesn’t know what to look out for and an attacker can gain unprecedented access to your systems. These attacks are dependent upon their targets’ ignorance, by providing some basic training to your workers, you can head off most social engineering attacks.
For most businesses, their IT systems are vitally important. Whether they are being used as part of day-to-day operations, or they are simply providing data storage for a business, a major breach of your systems can be a disaster. There are innumerable cybersecurity threats facing modern businesses, but they can all be defended against in one way or another. By sticking to the tips outlined above, you should have no trouble keeping your business IT systems secure and your workers informed about their role in maintaining that security.