We’ve all heard the horror stories of large companies that have fallen victim to hackers breaking into their vast reserves of data and stealing information. But what many small businesses don’t realize is that hackers are realizing the ease with which they can do the same thing to small and medium sized businesses. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that many of these businesses never realize they have been compromised.
Simply because you are a small business doesn’t preclude you from becoming a target. However, taking some simple precautionary steps can help you ensure that your business doesn’t end up as another crime statistic.
Secure your computer
Even your small business has valuable information stored on the computer. Likely you have it protected with anti-virus software. Don’t overlook the importance of keeping it updated on a regular basis. New viruses are developed on a daily basis so you need to maintain your virus software on at least a weekly basis.
If you are upgrading to a new computer or copy machine make sure to erase the hard drive. Thieves finding a business computer with the hard drive intact might be so thrilled as to send a personal thank you card for the gift.
Be careful of what you purposely place out on the Web. Social media is a big part of every business marketing strategy. It provides a very easy medium for disseminating information. However, use it wisely. Once you put something out there you can’t bring it back. Be sure you are not posting any personal business or client information to your social media outlets.
Police your mobile devices
Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, thumb drives, etc., are all potential avenues for a security breech. And most of us have at least two or three of these with us all the time. Keeping them all password protected is one way to maintain your data security. However, care should be taken on the amount and type of information you keep on them. Look into the possibility of remotely wiping the data from a mobile device should it ever be lost or stolen.
When we think of business security, many of us naturally tend to focus on the virtual side of our business. However, several aspects of our livelihood rely heavily on paper. For instance, even with the ease of online banking and debit and credit cards, most businesses still utilize paper checks for making payments and conducting business.
You should treat your checkbook like you would money. Don’t leave it sitting on the car seat out in the open while you make a quick run into the post office. All it takes is a few seconds for someone to steal the last check at the end of your checkbook. By the time you discover it is gone, you may already be the victim of fraud.
Data breach insurance
Many insurance companies offer data breach insurance in the event you incur legal costs from the loss of data that may lead to claims of negligence, breach of contracts or even charges of statutory violations.
Annie Harrington is a small business owner and freelance writer. Outside of work-life, Annie revels in design and the design process. She currently works with Vista Print, a company that specializes in creating business cards and ordering checks.
© 2013, Annie Harrington. All rights reserved.