Cyber Security Month Series Part 3

In week one of Cyber Security awareness month we talked about identifying where your critical information assets are that are important to you the small business owner. In week two we talked about how criminals target small business owners and the tricks they use. This week we are going to discuss basic data protections that small business people can employ to protect business information and systems they use every day.

Small business people are constantly on the go, multi-tasking and typically using a number of devices and applications to support their business. Typically this means but not limited to laptops, smart phones, web based e-mail and chat and finally voicemail.

Below you will find some general ideas for toughening up your security posture to protect your business:

Smartphones are essential to a small business person as it is an important tool used in business. However  due to its size of phones it is something that can be easy to loose , of interest to thieves and  due to the information they hold of interest to hackers. Some tips for security smartphones are:

  • Password protect your phone using a strong password, if the phone has an auto lock feature enable this to lock the phone should you leave it idle for a period of time.
  • Don’t share your phone, limit access to it.
  • Enable back up features for key data like address books info if an option.
  • Turn off Blue tooth or WiFi when not in use.
  • Be wary of what applications you install, some phone vendors have a looser requirements which may allow for attackers to publish illicit apps.
  • Be wary of unsolicited text messages containing URL’s or links, delete if you are unsure.

Voice Mail is often an overlooked area; however tabloids are full of stories of individual’s voice mail becoming compromised due to poor or no passwords. If your voicemail has a password requirement ensure to set the password to something that you can remember and not a trivial number sequence like “1, 2, 3, 4”.

Cloud based applications:  Web mail and cloud based storage are often used heavily by small business people and many are “free” to use. However these systems have concerns as well, consider the following when using cloud based applications:

  • If you are using a “free use application” for your business, ensure to use reputable cloud based application and understand your rights within the agreement regarding your business information. Some cloud based applications and e-mails may have rights to your data as part of the user agreement- Read the fine print.
  • Protect your accounts with a strong password and use different password for other applications.
  • Limit access to cloud data, like your phone, you will want to limit access to any business data you may be sharing. For example, file sharing services are designed to be collaborative and allow others to access data. Risks can include unwanted or unneeded access to your information; this can be limited by removing any unneeded access by others you had previously allowed and removing or deleting files that have already been shared and no longer needed.

 

Laptops: laptops are great targets for thieves and hackers as well and offer opportunity target.  Here are some basics for protecting information on laptops.

  • Use a password on your system
  • Patch your system regularly or set up the PC to automatically apply patches.
  • Encrypt the hard drive if the feature is available, should your device become lost or stolen the contents will not be viewable to the thief.
  • Get Antivirus , many come with additional features known as end point control to protect you.
  • Back up your information, including system files to restore your device.
  • Keep your device within your control, don’t leave unattended or unsecured.

When in doubt with technology, seek out a local fellow small business owner who has expertise in computer support to assist you. The small cost of professional help to protect your computing device may be well worth it rather than take things to chance and cost you your business due to a data breach.

Finally your garbage, that’s right: Buy or obtain a shredder and use it on items that are going in the trash that may contain sensitive information about your business such as account statements, bills, invoices, etc. Dumpster Diving – mentioned in last week’s blog, is still a common practice by identify thieves and other criminals.

 

The author can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/in/william-t-tucek-2610994b/

All rights reserved, Copyrighted work by William Tucek.

 

 

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 at 12:58 pm and is filed under Blog, Entrepreneurship. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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