Cyber Security Month Series Part Four

This is our final part of our series for Cyber Security Month, today we are going to discuss a bit more about security of your information in the “Cloud”.

The Cloud for many industry professionals is nothing more than the outsourcing of data and information to someone else to manage and care for. In the past, not all business, especially small business can afford to recruit, hire and operate an IT team to support their business, well now you can. In the past, not all business, especially small business could afford to recruit, hire and operate an IT team to support their business, now you can.

Some basic questions to be asking when considering using the “Cloud” are:

  • What business problem am I trying to solve and what services do I really need?
  • Who is going to be responsible for the Cloud services in my organization and what should they be doing?
  • Is any specialized training needed for the Cloud?
  • What type of data or information should I be putting there?
  • How is the information in the Cloud going to be secured?
  • What happens if something goes wrong from a security perspective and I need to contact someone from the cloud provider?
  • Does anyone else have rights to my data or information once in the cloud?

For the small business owner, it may seem overwhelming by the number of choices and options not to mention risks of cloud computing. It is advisable to seek guidance from a technology specialist in this area other than the sales rep or sales engineer who is selling the service to ensure your best interests are being addressed.

Finally, in this week’s issue, we will touch upon some methods and tools to make it easy to administer security for your small business. Remember the internet is full of things that are “free” and attackers use that term as a way to get you to install something bad onto your business computing devices. It is advisable for small businesses to purchase known and proven commercial security tools and maintain these tools to protect their business information.

Some top methods to keep your small business running safely on the Internet and protecting your business information are:

  • Patch your computers and ensure it is set up for automatic updates assuming you have a PC.
  • Physically secure laptops wherever you go. If leaving in a vehicle keep them out of sight and ensure you lock your vehicle. If your business has sensitive data on laptops consider encrypting to secure the data should they be stolen or lost.
  • Have antivirus software installed and running with the most recent updates on your computing devices.
  • Use complex and different passwords for different applications and keep passwords in a safe place if you must write them down.  See below for a solution to a password headache.
  • Be wary of unsolicited e-mails aka Phishing that contains suspect links as discussed in week two of our series.
  • Back up your data and make sure it is in a safe place.
  • When using WiFi outside of your office such as the coffee shop, be aware that it may not be a secure channel and some data can be intercepted. Utilize secure websites such as those using HTTPS , VPN or wait until you get back to the office to send the sensitive document to a client or use encryption.
  • Password protect your phone
  • Purchase and use a shredder for paper materials that contain sensitive info.
  • Finally never use the “free” computer in the hotel lobby for any business, including checking your e-mail, airline flights, etc.

In addition to the above methods, you will find a short list of tools.  But remember, always consider the risks before you download and install any software onto your business computing devices. I would also strongly suggest obtaining professional technical assistance should you need it; there is probably a small business in your area that specializes in computer support or technology. Small business owners can benefit by networking with these technology professionals to help enable and secure your business.

The below tools in italic are easy to find in any search engine query.

  • Password Managers: LastPass is an excellent password management tool to help you manage all your business passwords securely. Many web browsers also come with password safes as well sometimes available as plugins.
  • Anti Malware:  When Antivirus is not enough, sometimes attackers can get around traditional antivirus and having a specialized tool to ensure that your business PC is not infected with something destructive is a good thing. Malwarebytes is a great solution.
  • Network Protection using DNS: Ever wonder what happens when you type in a website into your browser and how you get to the site?  Probably not, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to take you to the website of your choice. One key part of how internet communications works is something called DNS or Domain Name Service.  What if your small business had the power of a big technology company with lots of security resources to make sure that the website you were going was not malicious – check out OpenDNS from Cisco, free to use.

Well, that wraps it up for Cyber Security awareness month; I hope this series was of benefit to you the small business owner to help keep your business out of harm’s way in our Cyber world.

The author can be reached at https://www.linkedin.com/public-profile/settings?trk=d_flagship3_profile_self_view_public_profile

All rights reserved, Copyrighted work by William Tucek.

 

SBDC Mankato would like to extend our appreciation to William Tucek, for his original works and allowing us to have exclusive publishing rights for them. We hope that this series has assisted you in some way with your small business and we encourage you to contact us for any consulting needs for your small business or startup.

 

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 at 6:14 pm and is filed under Blog. 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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