You may think your small business holds no attraction for hackers and scammers, but that isn’t the case. While you might not have an expansive collection of customer data like a big retailer such as Target or Home Depot, your business is still susceptible since it’s likely your digital security systems are less powerful. In today’s retail environment, security goes way beyond store fixtures.
Small businesses are actually quite attractive when it comes to mining payment and personal information. It’s easy for malicious persons and programs to penetrate the basic levels of security, and you probably have enough data stored to make the transaction worth the hacker’s while.
According to Chief Information Officer, a data breach costs roughly $3 million to recover from. If you haven’t considered whether you’re at risk, look over these dangers and solutions so you can form a plan before it’s too late.
In addition to the retail security equipment that protects your brick-and-mortar store, you need to take steps to guard your digital property. Many companies run most of the operation using computers, tablets and cloud storage. If you have your POS system on a device, The New York Times suggested making sure the hardware isn’t used for any other tasks. Similarly, you should use a separate computer for your financials including bookkeeping, banking and inventory orders.
It’s important to keep all your software, hardware and apps updated to be completely protected from hackers and viruses. The Times explained how companies include improved security features in updates, so malicious people look for devices that are running the old, flawed systems. Antivirus and antispyware software are especially important since they directly target the source of danger.
Although there are some hacks that companies can’t prevent, there’s often an issue of access to vital information. From paper files to online billing, every piece of data should be well-protected. If there are hard copies of documents that you need to keep, lock them in a secure file cabinet and make a digital copy to store in an encrypted folder. Be sure to shred any papers you no longer need.
Understand what data your company possesses and how it could be seen as valuable to a hacker. Chief Security Office suggested ranking information based on its appeal and documenting who can access it and from where. Don’t forget to consider internal threats as well – particularly employees and vendors with security clearance.
Just like a fire or medical emergency plan, formulating a strategy to handle a cybersecurity dilemma can minimize the amount of damage done.
As with an illness, early detection is key when it comes to information leaks. According to Forbes, you can stay on top of potentially harmful activity with automatic alerts on accounts of all sorts, and also on your company network. These alerts will contact you if there’s anything that looks out of place. You may also want to hire an outside firm to test the strength of your security. They will try to hack your system and identify holes or leaks.
The Times explained that smartphone or tablet apps can put your company at risk by leaving information accessible to hackers. Check with a service such as viaProtect, which evaluates how secure various apps are before you share vital company information with them.
Additionally, you should contact your insurance company about any cybersecurity and data breach protection it offers. You may already have coverage, but it will help your business to contact the necessary parties following a hack or leak situation.
On your end, make sure you know what types of information are time-sensitive and how your staff will handle the resulting customer service inquiries. Establish a point of contact, determine if you should consult a public relations firm and reach out to your legal and accounting teams if necessary.