Many small business owners set up their computer and internet systems the same way they do at home. In many cases, this means using an easy-to-guess password on secured WiFi networks (bagels123 for the secured wireless at Main Street Bagels doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out) and keeping default passwords on internet-connected devices (hackers will simply go down the list of common passwords, from “password” to “1234” and so on until they’re in).
If you think your small business isn’t big enough to need proper cybersecurity protection, chances are that hackers see your network as a prime theft opportunity. Why? Cybercriminals know that most small business owners think they can fly under the radar with no protection in place, or that mom-and-pop business owners assume that their data isn’t important enough to be a target. In fact, with no small business cybersecurity protection in place, you give hackers the ability to collect passwords, account numbers, and other personal information with very little effort.
Where to Start with Small Business Cybersecurity
All this talk of networks, internet connections, digital devices, and password protection can be intimidating to those who feel technologically challenged. “But I run a restaurant,” one person might say. “I don’t know anything about cybersecurity.”
The great thing about small business cybersecurity is that it’s possible to remain safe without having to become a technological whiz. A few basic guidelines will help you keep hackers out while remaining focused on the day-to-day operations of your business.
1. Secure all wireless networks on which you do business.
If you have one that’s open to guests, do not use that WiFi network to conduct business. Instead, use a secured, hidden network that’s protected by a firewall. Protect it with a complex password and use this network for all of your banking, ordering, and other online business transactions.
2. Educate employees about internet safety.
Hackers will often try to gain access to your systems or sensitive information by tactics such as phishing (sending emails that look as though they’re from a bank or organization with you do business in order to obtain passwords or account info), malware (installing malicious software onto devices that can track keystrokes or engage in other activity), or assorted methods that allow them to interfere with or control your WiFi or Bluetooth devices. Make sure all employees are up-to-speed on small business cybersecurity best practices when using business computers, phones, or other devices.
3. Install access control to protect digital assets.
For some small businesses, digital assets may be the main assets with which you make a living. This could be the case if you run an architectural firm and rely on digital blueprints or if you are a web developer and have databases of information and passwords for clients’ websites. In some cases, it may make sense to physically restrict access to equipment on which such information is accessed or stored to ensure that it’s not damaged or stolen. Use an access control system to physically restrict who can access (or when they can access) the area of your business where this equipment is located.
The Big Picture: Tying Small Business Cybersecurity in with Physical Security
While all of the above is a great place to start, the ultimate in small business cybersecurity strategies is tying these efforts in with your commercial security system. Having a professionally-installed small business security system ensures that all devices are properly protected and operating from a central source (rather than you having to control them all independently).
What does this include? A commercial security/automation system will control not only the burglar alarm system itself, but will also be tied into things such as your door locks, security cameras, fire alarms, and even your lighting system and thermostats. All of these can be securely accessed via the internet in order to monitor/operate them remotely.
Commercial security that helps keep out cybercriminals while also deterring in-person criminals? In today’s fast-paced world of technology, these security systems are providing small business owners with even greater peace of mind.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.