Why Small Businesses Need to Make Online Security a Priority
By Kevin Gardner
While recent high-profile attacks, breaches and other security threats have helped to highlight the importance of online security, there are still plenty of small businesses who choose to place themselves at greater risk through their failure to act. From staff and employee education to the services and assistance that only a third-party professional may be able to offer, there are plenty of ways for small businesses to protect themselves. With over 60 percent of small businesses being unable recover from a data breach, taking the steps needed to shore-up their online, network and digital security is an issue that no business owner can afford to take lightly.
Employee Education and Staff Training
Some of the most substantial security risks are also some of the easiest to address. From unsafe browsing habits to ensuring account passwords are properly selected and routinely updated, a little training and education helps to ensure that users are less likely to become a security liability. Businesses and organizations that fail to provide their staff, associates and other users who may have need to access their network or system with proper training and effective education are far more likely to experience a data breach or intrusion as a result.
Avoiding Unsafe User Habits
Even employees who have been properly educated sometimes fail to practice safe browsing habits. Failing to patch existing software, downloading a single unsafe attachment or employing a password that may be easy to guess is often all it takes for hackers or malware to gain access to a network. Assessing existing security efforts and ensuring that all employees are adhering to established policies and processes should be an ongoing effort. Constant vigilance is often essential for ensuring that a security strategy is able to be employed and utilized in a more effective manner.
Finding the Best Software Solutions
Failing to update software that may suffer from a known vulnerability or neglecting to employ the networking monitoring or anti-virus software necessary to minimize the most common and potentially serious security risks could prove to be nothing short of a disaster. A network of system is only as safe as its weakest component and businesses that overlook the importance of security software and applications or that discount the importance of patching and updating their existing digital infrastructure could be placing themselves at far greater risk. Assessing the current state of software and digital working environments in order to identify areas that require attention or improvement is often the first step towards enhancing digital security.
Professional IT Services
From user education to software updates, there are a number of situations that may be difficult or even impossible for small businesses lacking IT support to address. Seeking out providers who offer consultation, education and great managed detection and response services ensures that businesses are able to benefit from an expanded range of resources and solutions. Contracting with an off-site specialist or a third-party service provider can allow businesses to avoid the added costs of hiring an in-house professional or maintaining an on-site IT department.
Identifying Emerging Threats
With over 14 million hacks and breaches in 2016, digital security is no longer a concern that small business owners can afford to overlook. Security measures that may be sufficient for today's threats can quickly become obsolete and businesses that allow themselves to fall behind the times are far more likely to experience problems in the days ahead. Staying informed about any new and emerging threats, as well as the resources and solutions that will make the biggest difference, is a matter of utmost importance. From updating their infrastructure to investing in an insurance plan or policy that may help to offset the cost of a future breach, organizations that possess a superior understanding of the latest risks and threats will be better able to seek out and select the security solutions that will make the most difference.