Securing and Empowering SMBs Through Small Business IT Security

The internet allows businesses of all sizes and from any location to unlock new markets or expand their reach. In addition, the web has enabled firms to perform more efficiently through the use of computer-based tools. Whether your company is considering adopting cloud computing or just using email and maintaining a website, cybersecurity should always be included in the plan. Theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported fraud, surpassing physical theft. Every business that utilizes the internet is responsible for creating a culture of security so that both employees and consumers can have confidence that critical company data is safe. Below are some of the best ways to enforce small business IT security practices at your firm.


Train Employees in Security Principles.

Establish basic security policies and practices for employees, including requiring strong passwords, establishing appropriate internet usage guidelines, and more. Internet usage guidelines should detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. It is important to set up the framework for how to handle and protect customer information and other critical data.


Use the Latest Security Software.

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other cyber threats. Set antivirus software to scan after each update and install any other software updates as they become available.


Use Firewall Security.

A firewall is a set of related programs that stop outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Ensure that your operating system’s firewall is enabled, or – if you do not have one installed yet – install free firewall software that is available online. If you have any remote workers, be sure to have them secure their home systems with a firewall too.


Create a Mobile Device Action Plan.

Mobile devices can create significant management and security challenges, especially if they have access to the corporate network or contain confidential information. Requiring users to password-protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps can work to prevent anyone from stealing information while the phone is connected to public networks. It is also important to establish reporting procedures for lost or stolen devices.


Make Backup Copies.

Regularly back up data on all company computers for the sake of security and disaster recovery. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and more. If possible, back your business’s data up automatically. If that is not an option, back up data manually on a weekly basis and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.


Prevent Unauthorized Access.

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops are especially prone to theft, so lock them up when unattended. Be sure that a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key employees.


Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks.

If you have a wi-fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your wi-fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name (also known as the Service Set Identifier, or SSID). It is also a good idea to password protect access to the router.


Require the Use of Passwords.

Require employees to use unique passwords and to change their passwords every three months. It may also prove beneficial to consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires more information than just a password to gain entry. Check with you small business IT security vendor to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.


Employ Best Practices on Payment Cards.

Work with banks or processors to ensure that you are using the most trusted and validated anti-fraud tools available. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other less secure programs and do not use the same computer to process payments and surf the web, as this can lead to unwanted security breaches.

If you are seeking to prioritize the security of your small business but are not sure where to start, consider enlisting the help of a trusted third-party IT team. Here at Contigo, we understand the importance of small business IT security and want to help you maintain a safe environment for all of your critical company data. As one of the best cybersecurity firms in Austin, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding service while protecting your information. Do not let your firm’s security fall to the wayside; contact us today to get started on strengthening your network’s line of defense.