The online world is one that has its dangers, so it’s a good idea to consider your business and its security on the internet. For every contemporary business the ability to safely email, work remotely, and run its website is crucial to its day-to-day workings. The rules to keeping your business safe are often just common sense and they’re also effectively the same as the rules you employ on your own personal computer.
But with so many people working and using a given business’ infrastructure, the threat of data loss or attack increases. It all depends on your business and the services that it’s offering but there are some general rules to keep in mind. Good practices and prevention are very important and are much more easily implemented than costly attempts to patch them up after the fact.
Let’s consider some good online practices and some easy to implement solutions to keep your business safe and secure.
Staysafeonline.org and its helpful infographic
For some useful and general advice, check out this infographic (PDF); it contains relevant information for security conscious organizations. Let’s consider it in some more detail.
Currently small business form the backbone of the US economy and half of all Americans that are employed are working for a small business. Between 1993 and 2009, 65% of all new businesses were small firms and they created 15 million (net) new jobs. For those small business the internet is a critical resource.
73% of small businesses report that a safe and trusted internet is crucial to its success and 87% currently have one or more employee who uses the internet for daily tasks. This presents a clear need for consistent and clear internet practices and online safety will only become more and more necessary.
The internet is so important to small businesses that 55% said that the loss of an internet connection for 48 hours would have a negative impact on its infrastructure. A further 38% felt that 48 hours without the internet would be extremely disruptive.
The loss of the internet even for two days would have drastic consequences so businesses must safeguard its online infrastructure. Currently though, the majority of US small businesses feel satisfied with its online safety measures. However, this flies somewhat in the face of many studies, some of which have found that many businesses fail to implement even the most basic security measures such as antivirus software.
Here are some statistics:
· 77% feel that their company is safe from cyber threats like hackers, viruses, malware or a cyber-security breach.
· 66% stated that they’re not concerned about cyber threats like hackers or cyber-criminals and they also feel that internal threats are over sold.
· 47% believe that a data breach would have no impact on the business and that if there were any such breach it would be considered an isolated incident.
· Disturbingly, 18% felt that they wouldn’t even know if their computer network was compromised.
The most important thing to take away from those statistics is the fact that most small businesses are completely under-prepared (and uneducated) when it comes to cyber-security. According to research conducted by Symantec, cyber-attacks are most likely to be aimed at small companies.
The most worrying statistic in the infographic is the fact that 60% of small businesses will close within six months of a cyberattack. At the end of 2011 only 18% of attacks were aimed at small companies, the number has since doubled and now stands at 36%.
Let’s consider some more statistics then:
- 87% of small businesses don’t have a formal written internet security policy for its employees.
- 69% don’t even have an informal security policy.
- 59% of small business don’t have a contingency plan outlining procedures for responding to and reporting any data breach related loses.
- 75% have no policy in place for social media usage by staff while on the job, only 23% have established policies.
So, it seems clear that businesses are not prepared or even educated about the dangers online. There are however a number of things that a business can do. Let’s consider them now.
- Keep a clean machine. Every computer in your work place needs to be protected from malware, viruses and infections.
- Protect sensitive information. All passwords used in the enterprise must be secure and impervious to malicious attack.
- Safeguard your online reputation. Carefully set security and privacy levels to reflect the level of protection that you desire in your company infrastructures.
- Education. Teach your employees how to be safe and secure online and inform them of online best practices. Make sure that they understand that any email, social media post or direct message, or even a text message that looks suspicious needs to be left unopened and deleted.
- Consider managed services. If you’re not sure where to start with security then consider using a managed security service.
The online world has its perils and dangers and your business must do everything within its power to negate those malicious influences. Good online practices and careful education of staff members is the best form of prevention.