If you own a small business, keeping your IT systems safe and secure is likely a top priority. But this complex task requires money, time, resources, and specialized knowledge.
Without taking the appropriate technical security measures, you’re leaving your company data—and perhaps your personal data—at risk.
You’ll also have to consider your business’s needs and how the measures you choose to implement address those needs. This doesn’t even necessarily mean paying for expensive or time-consuming IT solutions. Indeed, you may already have the IT systems in place to ensure the safety of your data.
The following questions can help you to make an honest assessment of your IT security needs.
What threats and/or risks does your business face?
Before you can identify the level of security that your business needs, you need to identify risks and threats. What business operations require the collection, storage, use, and disposal of personal data? In addition, how valuable, confidential, or sensitive is the information you collect and utilize? What damage and/or distress would a security breach cause for the individuals involved? When you have an idea of the risks, you can begin to identify the appropriate security measures.
What IT security tools are available?
Unfortunately, there’s no all-in-one miracle product when it comes to protecting your business. You will need to familiarize yourself with various measures and modes of security and identify courses of action to take with respect to each service. Consider the following IT security systems:
- Firewalls. A firewall is your first line of defense against online threats. Stop breaches before they compromise your network.
- Secure configuration. Technological infrastructure requires both set-up and configuration before it can offer effective protection. You can reduce vulnerabilities in both software and hardware by ensuring systems are updated or removed, and passwords are changed regularly.
- Access restrictions. The more employees you have, the more difficult it is to manage access to systems. Individual users should have their own username and password credentials, and user permissions should reflect security clearances. Administrator accounts should be used only when absolutely necessary. Strong passwords, limits on login attempts, and mandatory password changes can help to improve the security of you organization.
- Malware protection. Anti-virus and anti-malware products conduct regular scans of your network in order to prevent, detect, and address threats. These products must be kept up-to-date and switched on in order to ensure their effectiveness. In addition, make sure you act on alerts sent by malware protection applications.
- Software updates. Updating your computer equipment and software is a must if you want to ensure that your systems run smoothly and securely. Software updates often address security vulnerabilities, and the sooner you run them the sooner you can fix potentially weak areas. You should review your protection system every two or three years in order to ensure it is still providing adequate protection.
Where can I learn more?
It’s important to be proactive when it comes to securing your data and IT systems. As a business owner or manager, you may not have expertise in the field. You can find additional resources online, but getting a professional opinion on the matter may be ultimately more cost-effective. Get in touch with an IT security consultant to find out what steps you can take to ensure your business’s continued security.