These days, many SMEs log, maintain and access important details online by way of various machines. Because of this, information security is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, there are several ways that your data can be compromised.
But, you are not helpless. Knowledge is power, so it’s important that you have a firm understanding of what information security is, some of the most common threats and the best information security policies you can implement today.
What is information security?
Information security is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a collection of processes and systems put in place to keep the important data that helps you run your business safe. This can be everything from purchasing trends of customers or other consumer research to credit card data and other important personal details. This concept is also sometimes known as InfoSec. Strong information security policy protects this sensitive data from prying eyes and fingers.
What are some of the most common data security threats and how can you avoid them?
Being aware of technological dangers is the first step in keeping your data safe. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common threats to IT security and what you and your team members can do to avoid them.
This tactic has been employed by internet villains for quite a while, but it still manages to catch some people out. Phishing involves impersonating somebody or something through email in an effort to get information. Oftentimes, such emails are caught by spam filters or have blatant misspellings that give them away, but phishing scams have become more refined through the years.
How to avoid phishing: Prevention settings and employee education are the two easiest and best ways to ward off phishing scams. Making sure your company’s email has spam settings enabled is a must. In addition, take a minute to educate your team about the dangers of phishing scams and remind them to keep personal information that can be used to target them off the internet.
- Cloud attacks
Contrary to popular belief, the cloud is not an inherently dangerous place to keep information. However, there are people out there who will try to crack your cloud storage and get at your vital information. This is especially dangerous if your business deals with medical records and other personal details.
How to avoid cloud attacks: Placing your trust in a managed IT solutions provider means you’re getting that extra layer of protection that only the true professionals can offer. They know the best ways to keep your data safe from harm, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
- Password hacks
This one is about as simple as it gets when it comes to information security, but that doesn’t make it any less harmful. Sometimes the only thing standing between your company and the eyes and ears of an information stealer is a combination of keyboard characters. A stolen password equals stolen information.
How to avoid password hacks: This is another example where IT security education can go a long way. Make sure your team members don’t share passwords or leave them in plain view where somebody visiting the office can see them. Also, make a mandate that passwords must be changed every so often and, optimally, make them random collections of numbers and characters instead of common phrases.
- Cross contamination with other devices
The rise of smartphones, tablets and external working habits means that people are relying on their own devices more than ever. Sometimes they use these machines to store or work on professional documents. This increases the number of devices holding valuable information that can be exploited.
How to avoid cross contamination: Make it clear to employees what types of data should and should not be accessed on personal devices. To take a bit more control, have a centralised security console that can help manage external devices if they fall into the wrong hands.
- Physical threats
The idea of somebody physically stealing your information by taking a computer is often overlooked by companies. Nevertheless, it can happen and, trust us, it isn’t pretty. Theft doesn’t just have to be of machines, either. Important documents can be swiped or information can be gathered from the bin.
How to avoid physical threats: When it comes to computers and other devices, make sure you lock your premises, even if you’re only stepping out for a few minutes. Investing in high-quality door and window locks and an alarm system is smart. Also, shred all important documents and cut up all company credit cards that you no longer need before tossing them out.
You need to use technology to your advantage if you hope to carve out a piece of the pie for your SME. But you must use it carefully. Staying conscious of the above threats and knowing how to prevent them from affecting your business is key.
Saxons has a collection of great tips and tricks tailored specifically to SME owners. Check them out today to make sure you’re doing everything possible to put yourself and your business in a position to succeed. Hiring somebody who works in IT and having them speak to your employees in a training facility environment can be time well spent, too. Consider these options today and rest easy tonight.