Practical Cybersecurity Tips
We hear Cybersecurity get thrown around these days. From headlines on the news that cover cybersecurity breaches in politics and social media accounts to your insurance agent selling you a new insurance package to cover you in the case that your systems are attacked. While some of these can seem far away and unrelated to you and your small business, we must remember that our world has changed with technology and these threats are very real no matter how far-fetched they may appear.
You started a business to freely do what you love. Whether that’s being a doctor, a dentist, an accountant or a lawyer, what you’ve come to realize is that when you started your business, it took over the reason why you started it! You’re no longer just a doctor, dentist, accountant or lawyer. You now have other responsibilities on your plate then performing your job. What does this have to do with cybersecurity? Well, it’s just one more of those responsibilities that came with being a business owner that you didn’t know you were going to have to deal with when you opened up for business.
Because you have so many responsibilities now, you don’t have time to think about cybersecurity and what it could mean to your business. I thought I would share some tips that are practical for everyday people that just want to get on with their jobs!
Tip 1: Hackers Don’t Discriminate. Do NOT think that just because you are a small office in a small town you are somehow immune. This is dangerous thinking. Whether you are a 2-person office or a 50-person office, you are equally as vulnerable. You are an IP address to hackers, nothing more.
Tip 2: Treat Digital Documents Like Paper Documents. Locked cabinets and safes have existed for what seems like forever. You want to protect sensitive information from prying eyes as well as from anyone that doesn’t need to know. Digital documents should be the same. They should be locked up in protected digital filing cabinets. This would protect you from both, inside and outside threats lowering your risk all around.
Tip 3: Never Leave Devices Unlocked. Sound paranoid? Good. Having a password on your device is one of the very first lines of defense. You wouldn’t leave your Facebook account open for everyone to access so your device itself should be thought of in the same way. And if it’s a device that multiple people can access, having unique user accounts and passwords for each will mitigate your risk further… (oh and it’s a requirement by many federal regulations like HIPAA, GLBA, etc.)
Tip 4: Keep Devices Up To Date. I’m sure this is something you hear ALL the time. And it’s because this one is absolutely necessary! From the operating system to individual software and browsers. Critical security updates are constantly being pushed out so make sure these are done across your entire network. If you don’t have time to do it yourself… pay someone! It’s worth the cost in the long run!
Tip 5: Redundant Back Ups are Business Savers. Science fiction question here: how much more carefree and relaxed would we all be if we knew that if something were to happen to us, a copy of us with all of our knowledge, skills, experience, who we are could just be spun up and ready to keep going like nothing happened? Let’s translate this to your data… if you knew that no matter what happens your data is safe, intact and available in multiple places, in multiple ways, wouldn’t you feel better? Yes!
Bonus Tip: Prevention is always always always better than needing to react to a problem. Training your employees on email, internet and workstation use and safety should be part of your training routines and handbooks.
Adjusting your mindset to think about cyber safety is always the first thing. Prevention measures should become part of life (as annoying as they can be) and having a plan in place for just in case including backups and insurance should be the icing on the cake.
Be Safe Out There Friends!