Let’s take some time to talk about the security measures for your business. Now you might be thinking, why does my business need to think about this? Why is someone who does financial work feel the need to talk to me about my security measures? I hate technology, its the bane of my existence, can we please talk about something else? Well, no we can’t because without good security measures, your business could lose everything which leads to many, many other disastrous scenarios that I don’t need to mention. Stick with me for a few paragraphs and then run a security check on your business.
Use strong passwords
If you only implement one security measure, please use good passwords and no, having a piece of paper with all of your passwords written on them does not count. Neither does using the same password for everything.
Avoid using any kind of personal information like your birth date, addresses, family members names or common words that pertain to your life or your business. This is where I get the, “well how in the heck am I supposed to keep track of a million different passwords that all look like they’re in a different language?”
Well let me tell you. Fortunately, there are several software companies that can help you manage your passwords across all of your devices. I personally use LastPass but KeyPass and RoboForm are a couple of other options I’ve come across that are great products. These products only require you to remember one password and then store your other passwords for when you need to use them. They will also generate secure passwords for you if you’re having a hard time creating a strong password.
Install Antivirus software
Fortunately, most businesses I work with are using some form of antivirus software, so this section should be pretty short. What the antivirus software does for your computer is prevent, detect and remove any malicious software or viruses that might want to infect your computer, laptop or smartphone.
The only thing that can cause an issue is if the updates are out of date or the software isn’t strong enough for you business needs. A few good options are Avast, Symantec and Bitdefender. Everyone has different needs so speaking with an IT professional can provide great benefits in finding and implementing the right software for your business.
Establish a good firewall
Firewalls protect your network by monitoring and controlling what comes in and out of the business over the internet. The great thing about a firewall is that they are usually pretty standard with any antivirus software that you may have already purchased. Take a look at the antivirus software that you have to make sure that they include firewall protections with the antivirus software.
Secure smartphones and laptops
Because smartphones and laptops are so mobile and also hold incredible amounts of important information, its important to protect the information that is on them. Take a moment to think about what kind of information is living on your smartphone or laptop that could be compromised if one or the other was lost or stolen.
This is where a good encryption software comes into play. Encryption software scrambles the information that’s on the hard drive so that, if a hacker or thief ends up with your device, they won’t be able to view any of the information if they don’t have the password. If you ask me, that gives me a great sigh of relief knowing that no matter what, even if I never see my laptop again, that my business information is well protected.
Now let’s talk about a few options for encryption software. Symantec Endpoint Encryption, Folder Lock and Sophos Safeguard Encryption offer very robust options for encrypting computers and smartphones. As always, consult your IT professional to discuss which options are best for your business.
Backup your information regularly
This is another extremely important security measure to consider. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across businesses or have heard stories of businesses that hadn’t backed up information onto an external hard drive or a hard drive in the cloud, only to experience a computer crash or a theft or a fire that destroys all of their business information. This kind of devastation causes all kinds of problems with preparing taxes or functioning in day to day operations.
So what are your options for backing up information? Well, I always like to use the rule of three and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That being said, I recommend having a backup copy on an external hard drive at the place of business, a copy on a storage device in the cloud and a copy on a hard drive that is locked in a safe at another location like your home. These options give you flexibility in the event that if something happens on the business computer and you need to start over, there are options to access the important information that you need. With a good back up copy, it will only put a small kink in one day and not create panic for weeks to come.
Let me say it again… back up your information daily or weekly!!! Five minutes a week could save hours, days and weeks of headaches down the road.
You powered through and survived! I’m so proud of you. Now that you’ve had a chance to read through some of these important security measures for businesses, leave your comments below on what you think and how these could help your business remain a thriving asset for your community.