Digital Security 101
Digital Security For Your Small Business - What You Need to Know
One of the most popular topics in Canadian business in recent months has been digital security. This is an issue that should be relevant to business of all sizes, especially small and medium sized ones. After witnessing the likes of Sony and even the Canadian government experience major cyber attacks, many SMB owners believe the hackers have no interest in small businesses. That is a dangerous assumption to make, and one that could cost you. Let’s dig deeper into digital security and explore why SMBs are vulnerable and how you - as a business owner -can take the necessary precautions to make sure you have all your digital security bases covered.
How are small businesses vulnerable to a digital security breach?
In a survey conducted by Evolocity, we asked several of our merchants about their digital security. Almost all of them did not believe they were in a position to be targeted by cyber attacks. Not because they had taken precautions but because they felt their information was not valuable enough to warrant it. The truth is, the majority of cyber attacks are automated and do not target businesses in particular, but vulnerabilities that exist in their systems. It doesn’t matter if you are the owner of Wal-Mart or a corner store - if you have digital security vulnerabilities, hackers will do their best to get into your systems. The difference between the two examples is simple; Wal-Mart has a massive Information Technology department trained specifically to deflect these attacks, SMBs often do not have a dedicated IT department and have a higher chance of running outdated digital security systems, if any at all.
How can I protect my small business from a digital security attack?
Don’t fret, it sounds harder than it is. Here are a few simple ways to protect your information.
1. Stay informed
New types of threats are always popping up and knowing that they exist is essential for your protection. Once you know what you are trying to protect yourself from, you can move onto the more technical side of things
2. Set up a Firewall
A Firewall is your first line of defence against a digital security breach. It should deflect the majority of basic cyber attacks. It is an essential piece of your cyber security setup and shouldn’t be overlooked. There are numerous softwares and instructional documents out there to help you easily set it up
3. Secure and back up all of your data
Protect all your sensitive documents and data with passwords and/or encryption. Software. Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat Reader have built in functionalities for this. The goal is to add a second layer of protection after the firewall. Should a digital security breach manage to get through your firewall, they won’t be able access sensitive information that could put your business in jeopardy. It’s also extremely important to have all your data backed up externally. In the event of a crash or failure due to a cyber attack, or even user error, your data will be safe and sound on another drive.
4. Set internal permissions
For example, you would not give HR access to financial statements or data, and you wouldn’t make employee file data accessible to accounting. It helps to think of your digital information much as your would your personal information, given on a need to know basis only. If a digital security breach of your systems does happen, based on the type of data accessed, you can rule out certain departments, as they never had access to that data in the first place. We’re not suggesting that you not trust you employees, much to the contrary. Mistakes happen and you are simply protecting your business and your employees from making a mistake that might prove damaging.
By being aware of the digital security threats that exist out there in cyberspace and implementing these few simple steps to combat them, your business is on the fast track to becoming secure in the digital world. Beef up your digital security budget by leveraging your future sales with our merchant cash advance.