Creating a strong culture is important for businesses of any size and there’s an increasing need for security protocols to be a central part of a company’s identity.
Small businesses make up over 97 percent of enterprises in Canada and many have had to shift their operations to a more digital focus due to the pandemic. Information Technology (IT) teams were thrust into figuring out several challenges employees faced, including staying protected from cyberthreats.
Conversations between team members through online platforms along with data and information being shared over networks have meant more reliance on IT systems to keep sensitive data secure. Some of the online scam attempts seen over the last 20 months include phishing, identity fraud, and impersonation that all propagated a large amount of malware, such as ransomware and Trojan horse viruses.
As small business owners looking to grow their companies and expand consumer bases, instilling the necessary security protocols to ensure sensitive information isn’t reached by bad actors is vital.
Here are 10 tips for SMEs owners to talk with their employees about to keep their company secure:
- Keep the software on your device updated.
- Use your device and/or secure remote desktop for professional purposes only.
- Use a VPN for connections with your internal systems.
- Regularly change your passwords, including your home router password.
- Do not install unauthorised software or applications.
- Do not share confidential information in non-encrypted emails.
- During video conferencing, ensure your visual environment is secure and that you won’t disclose confidential data by accident.
- While on the phone, make sure to identify who you are speaking with. If in doubt, don’t disclose any information.
- Be careful what you publish on social media. For example, photos of your home office may reveal confidential information.
- Follow your security team’s guidelines and stay alert.
The digital transition period also saw, and continues to see, companies shift their infrastructure to the cloud. If you’re a small business owner and you’re looking for a cloud service provider, look for one that has worked to establish open and trusted cloud security protocols. These providers will have adapted their scope to ensure compliance and certify data isn’t intercepted or analyzed by authorities overseas while implementing security best practices across the board.
Hybrid working models are looking increasingly likely of staying put, leaving SMEs at a greater risk of malicious threats. While these guidelines can’t provide immunity from threats, they do provide a useful starting point for companies looking to reduce risks and develop robust security operations. Company secrets and financial data need to stay secure, and this updated working model has put new responsibility on companies and IT teams.
Collaboration between cloud-service providers, businesses, IT professionals, and employees will need to be increased to maintain strong security practices.