Tips and tricks to reduce your risk of being hacked

It’s a sad fact that 60% of small businesses fail after a security breach. Many just don’t have the financial resources that larger businesses have to recover. Data breaches hurt companies not only when they happen but also into the future – the bad press can affect public brand perception (and consumption) for a long time to come.

As a small business owner, you want to decrease your chances of a hack or breach as much as possible. Follow these tips for increased security and threat detection.

1. Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication

Your security starts with the primary access point to your information – the password. Using strong passwords isn’t just something techies say because they think it is fun to nag. It’s something simple that can truly raise your security game. Two years ago, about 20% of businesses were still using easy-to-guess passwords like birthdates, “password1,” or something equally unoriginal.

What makes a strong password? Use a long password with multiple words, at least one number, a capital letter and maybe even a special character. Don’t use a common phrase, and make it as random as possible.

Want to make your login procedures even more secure? Use multi-factor authentication to ensure that even if someone does get their hands on the password, the extra levels of identity check will reduce their chances of breaking through.

2. Let the professionals handle the job

You’re a business owner and you’ve got a lot on your plate. While you may be tech-savvy, you might not be as much of a security expert as a trusted managed services provider – including everything a business needs in the cybersecurity realm. They can evaluate your current systems and practices and recommend products, solutions and tips for building the best network security possible.

A 24/7 IT team will also be more likely to spot any problems at the moment than a single internal IT person who cannot always be available. Use managed IT services to fill in the gaps and draw on expert advice to protect your business.

3. Get tested

Penetration testing is a useful field also known as white hat hacking. Ethical hackers do their best to break into your systems, uncovering vulnerabilities in a safe environment. It’s best to have a hired hacker detect these weaknesses before a real hacker exploits them for their own gain. Pen testing should be a normal part of any technology product deployment, and a regular part of every small business IT security plan.

4. Be careful with permissions

Some small businesses give information access to all employees, even sharing passwords for core resources. However, it’s important to have standardized permissions in place. Only team members who need to access certain information should have those role-based permissions, and each person should have their own separate access point to your networked databases, servers and applications for better control.

This makes it easier to offboard exiting employees without disrupting everyone else’s workflow with new passwords. It also ensures that if some sensitive information does get out, you know exactly who had access to it and thus have a better idea of who might be responsible and what the risks may be.

5. Follow the basics

All the security basics still come into play, even in our modern era. Don’t share sensitive information via email, don’t open strange attachments, always update operating systems and software, and use an antivirus program. These basics will never go out of style as long as there are hackers trying to profit from your business’ valuable data and information!

Contact us at Entech for more IT security tips to improve your business operations and performance.