Security for small business and start-ups

Whether we like it or not, technology has become the key to small business success. While most small businesses understand why they need to embrace certain technologies; often citing productivity and time to market as drivers for adoption, they often realise too late just how important security is.

At the same time, however, cyber security attacks are on the rise. Recent industry research suggests cyber attacks small businesses attacks are on the up. In 2011, small businesses were targeted roughly 18 per cent of the time; by 2014, that number had reached 34 per cent, and last year the number of attacks to small businesses shot up once more to 43 per cent.

Here’s what small businesses need to consider when adopting new technologies to keep their organisations safe:

1. Don’t use the same password for everything

Let’s say you have a key that opens everything in your life: your phone, your house, your car, your bank account but then you lost it. Disaster. Everyone should think of passwords as digital keys; unique to applications, accounts and services.

2. Leverage cloud computing

Cloud computing has many advantages and one of the biggest benefits of using cloud technology is the security behind it. The big cloud providers have spent more money on IT security than you ever will. Take advantage of it!

3. Keep updated

Keeping your systems up to date is critical. From security to business applications, updates are essential to keeping every business safe. In addition, having an up to date security solution on your end point really will mitigate risks. Investing in security solutions like Webroot, Trend Micro, or if you want a premium solution CrowdStrike Falcon Host, is critical.

4. Understand your interal risks

You’ll start to hear the term “insider threat” being thrown around more and more in coming months. An insider threat is a malicious threat to an organisation that comes from people within it – for example via current employees, former employees, contractors or business associates. The threat commonly occurs when an employee leaves an organisation and continues to have inside information concerning the organisation’s security practices, passwords and data.

5. Look at what you share online

A straightforward and obvious way to ensure that you do not risk your identity on the web is to keep track of the information that you trade with the internet. An easy way to make sure that you do not share any private information on the web is by disconnecting your personal devices when they do not need to be connected.

Don’t install unnecessary things that you might not need

It is common sense that you will not install any unnecessary software on your computer. However, more than often, there are cases in which you wish to install a particular program on your personal computer and other unwanted programs get installed automatically. Therefore, you should ensure that the files you’re downloading and installing are relevant and safe.

Jarrod Vassallo, Partner and Consultant, Endpoint Focus

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