Why would hackers go after a small business when big businesses would have so much more valuable data to steal? The answer: because small businesses are easy targets.
Here are some ways that your small business is probably failing at security, and advice on how you can fix them.
Surfing without Protection
If you have a hard time figuring out whether or not you’re on a secure server, you can remedy that and vastly decrease the chances that anyone will be spying on your communication. This is done through encryption, which is provided by a VPN service. A VPN – virtual private network – creates a secure, encrypted tunnel between your computer and whatever server you are connected to. Every small business person should have one of these. It is one of the best ways to prevent your traffic from being monitored by hackers.
Your Passwords Are Convenient
Many employers allow people to use their personal computers for business purposes. This means that the security on the computers will be set up for convenience, in all likelihood, rather than for creating a hard target. The biggest indicator of such a setup will be weak password selection.
Your passwords should be difficult for even you to remember. Get a password manager, which will store all of them for you, and use it. When you make passwords, use ones that are random collections of numbers, letters, and punctuation marks, and that are not stylized representations of dictionary words. Any other option is simply not secure.
You Use Pirated Software
You may or may not be pirating, and you may even be doing it without realizing it. The reason that pirated software is so dangerous is because you’re generally cut off from updating your programs. Manufacturer updates quite frequently patch security holes discovered in a product after it was released.
Don’t kid yourself. If you “borrowed” or “found” a copy of expensive software online, and you actually use it for business, you are taking an enormous risk. Not only do you not get the updates, but also that pirated copy may already be provided with security holes that make it easy for a hacker to get into your computer. Buy your software.
As a small business, you don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on IT. What you do have, however, is the ability to learn good security practices, and to follow them, both of which you should start doing right now.