The Pandemic has meant a significant switch in lifestyle and even career. Many people decided that this is the perfect time to pursue that small business idea they’ve always flirted with.
Despite the comfort of running a business while sitting in pajamas, there are still a million things pulling business owners in different directions. For example, security isn’t always a top concern and sometimes goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. But it is a crucial element. Keeping up with cybersecurity basics for a business can prevent irreparable damage and more than $25000 in losses.
So it’s time to get those ducks in a row before something happens! Here’s a short guide to the best steps business owners can take right now to protect their home-based businesses.
Access control is one of the most important things any business can do if it has any employees. It’s crucial for anyone who works remotely or with freelancers. This goes for online accounts, internal systems, and work accounts that are used by many people.
Access control is a security technique that regulates who can view or use certain accounts or data. For example, if the business has a website on WordPress, then the owner can control who gains admin access to the site and what they can do.
This prevents people from gaining full control over the website. And if their login details get stolen or their account hacked, the hackers will also have limited access. The same goes for data and account sharing. Give people access only to that information they need to perform their duties.
There will be some preaching about passwords on a list like this because passwords are that important.
With passwords, it’s best to stick to the advice of cybersecurity experts, which are reiterated in such trusted sites as Wired, TechCrunch, and Forbes. The standard best practices stay the same:
– Use a unique password for every account.
– Make passwords long, with multiple characters, numbers, and symbols.
– Don’t share passwords on unencrypted chats.
If it’s hard to remember all those passwords, then it’s best to make use of a password manager. Also, always enable two-factor authentication on accounts.
A lot of businesses are not prepared to deal with the consequences of having all their data stolen in a cyber-attack or locked away by ransomware. Not only do many not have up-to-date backups, but those that do often make the mistake of storing them on the same premises. Sometimes even on the same devices/servers. That doesn’t help anyone.
Backups should be stored on encrypted hard drives in an off-site location that isn’t easy to access or on a secure cloud server. The second usually costs a monthly or annual fee, but the upside is that it can’t be lost or destroyed in a fire. Both of these off-site data protection options are essential if you want to safeguard your business from a data disaster.
The downside of using cloud servers, however, is that they aren’t infallible. Hackers have managed to break through in the past.
Encryption is a method of changing the original plaintext of computer code into a different, undecipherable code. This code can only be decrypted by the person that has the key (app). Everyone else sees scrambled nonsense.
So, there are apps and software that can encrypt hard drives, emails, and even network connections. Even messaging systems like WhatsApp use end-to-end encryption to keep messages private.
Look for encryption apps and software that have received good reviews online. Make sure to encrypt any files and drives on devices used to run the business. Also, use a secure email provider that encrypts emails and a VPN to encrypt the network connection.
The last is important because hackers can use digital devices to gain access to the home’s network and infiltrate the business’ accounts. There are even VPNs for Fire Stick for watching shows in the background while getting work done (it’s okay, we don’t judge).
Keep in mind that this advice goes for any employee as well.
It’s obvious that a lot of work could be done from home. That’s why people switched to running their businesses from the home offices. But it’s important to remember that this comes with a number of cybersecurity risks as small businesses are big targets for hackers! It’s much easier to do a little preparation now than having to deal with the consequences of a cyber-attack later.