Technology has dramatically transformed the way business is carried out. Even something as simple as the neighbourhood grocery business has moved online, as the entire process from getting the order to receiving the final payment can now be carried out over the internet. Thanks to IT, businesses can now reach out to clients in a way that was unimaginable even two decades ago. On the flip side, the increased digital presence leaves them vulnerable to online threats.
According to the Internet Security Threat Report issued by Symantec in 2016, small businesses accounted for 43 per cent of all cyber-attacks. The statistic is hardly surprising, since small and medium sized enterprises usually do not have the resources to keep the increasingly sophisticated threats at bay but, at the same time, are financially more attractive to attackers as compared to individuals.
Nevertheless, here are a few simple security measures that all businesses, irrespective of their size, can implement to help mitigate the risk of losses due to IT security breaches.
- Identify risks: The starting point is to draw up a checklist of the vulnerabilities that the business is exposed to, such as malware, ransomware, hacking, etc. While preparing this checklist, companies need to be mindful of threats arising due to company policies. For instance, small companies frequently do not have security policies, due to which security lapses may occur, such as important passwords being leaked. Fortunately, there is a lot of information available online to help companies in this regard.
- Implement Protection: Once the risks have been identified, the company should implement the necessary IT security solutions, such as installing anti-malware software, site guard for the company website and firewalls on computers or other internet access points. Businesses need to be mindful of the fact that IT threats are constantly evolving. Therefore, the operating systems as well as security software in all devices should be periodically updated to ensure that the company is best equipped to handle potential threats.
- Implement security policies: The next step is to implement security policies such as use of strong passwords, requiring employees to change their passwords frequently, deletion of unused user accounts, protection of confidential documents, etc. The policies should be strictly enforced to minimise the risk of a security breach due to negligence or human error. Also, the security policy should lay down the measures to be taken by employees in the event of a security lapse.
- Insure against losses: Companies can also opt for a cyber liability insurance cover to protect themselves from possible losses due to security breaches. Although the concept is still in its infancy, the fact remains that IT security risks are insurable.
- Have a recovery plan: Thanks to artificial intelligence, the tools available to hackers are getting more and more sophisticated by the day. It naturally means that even the best security systems are not fool proof. Therefore, it is necessary to have data backup and a recovery plan in the event of a security attack threatening the business.