Security breaches at large companies are regularly hitting the headlines, but small and medium businesses are just as vulnerable to these threats, if not more so. It is easy to get into bad habits especially when you have so any other things to consider as your business grows, but it is better to be prepared than to only think about security when it is too late. Avoid becoming another of the 60% of SMBS who go out of business within 6 months of a data breach by reading these top 5 mistakes.
Not training staff
Your staff are one of your biggest assets as an SMB but they can also be your greatest liability if they are not all fully trained in security measures. Don’t assume that just because something seems obvious to you it will be to everyone. Make sure that you create and deliver full security training to each member of staff, on everything from how to deal with phishing emails to why they should never write down their passwords. There is an increasing knowledge gap for digital skills in workplaces around the UK, and workers without these skills can create serious risk to your company’s cybersecurity.
Using outdated passwords
Make sure that all passwords are updated regularly. You can set up certain passwords to automatically reset at regular intervals to force people to change them. Make sure that you are not using the same passwords for different logins, and choose something complex with a mixture of letters and numbers, and other characters if possible. Generally speaking the longer a password is the safer it is too, so aim for at least 8 characters.
Not keeping up with antivirus updates
Firewalls and anti-virus software are a basic necessity for any small business, but this protection quickly becomes redundant when you fail to install updates or renew your subscription. Don’t just rely on free trials, security is a necessary part of any business which is worth investing in. Certain software can even be set up to download updates automatically, which means it is one less thing to think about.
Being lax with security
It is easier than you might think for holes in the armour to appear, often due to login details and passwords not being kept safe. Writing passwords down and leaving them out on desks is an obvious no-no, but consider also how easy it is for people to login to software or databases where sensitive information is stored- do you leave applications logged in by default, or store login details in shared folders that everyone has access to?
Going it alone
Network security might be the last thing you are worrying about as a small business owner, but it is worth thinking about, as prevention really is better than cure. If you need advice on how to implement any of this advice, or you simply don’t have the time to spend on it, why not use a managed IT service? They can help to identify potential problems in your IT infrastructure and recommend solutions to help keep your business safe and prevent any security disasters.