Our thanks to Information Security Analyst Thomas Milva for this contribution. In an age of security challenges, it will benefit self-employed authors to be aware as we head into the new year!
Small businesses are really important to the American economy, because, whether you know it or not, According to data gathered by Forbes, there are over 287 million small business in the United States, and a large majority of those (over 22 million) are run by self-employed entrepreneurs without any additional workforce. Does that describe you?
One of the biggest issues small businesses all across the world have is security. Protecting any businesses against the latest threats is an extremely difficult job, and the situation is even harder if you’re on your own. It’s critical to know as much as you can about your security and the key elements to ensure you stay safe online.
Closing the Door to Malware
Just think about it like this – you never leave your door unlocked at night – in the same way, you have to make sure that you’re not inviting any cybercriminals into your business. If you don’t secure your computer, that’s exactly what you’re doing. For starters, let’s talk about malware. Malware has been around for more than 30 years at this point. Malware is malicious software, designed by hackers to infiltrate and damage your computer without your knowledge. If you want to shield your company from malware, you have to employ the following:
Apply a Firewall
Every good router has an on-board Firewall protection, but you have to make sure that it’s turned on (in most cases it has to be done manually). This will definitely provide the first line of defense, but in today’s day and age – it’s simply not enough.
Protect your Desktop Device
The next thing you need to do is find good antivirus software, but you cannot simply go for the first provider you come across. You have to make sure that the software will protect your device, without hindering the performance of your machine. The best software will also provide protection against identity theft, risky sites and of course, hacker attacks.
Get a VPN for Mobile
Finally, you have to make sure that all of your mobile devices are safe from any data breaches, which is why you should start using a Virtual Private Network (VPN – a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet). Solutions like Express VPN software encrypt all of your incoming and outgoing data, so if a hacker tries to spy on your activities, he will only see tons of encrypted gibberish.
Writing Your Policies
Just so you know, when it comes to cybercrime, the size of your business is irrelevant. In fact, most hackers often target smaller businesses, due to their limited IT support. If you’re working alone, this won’t be a problem, but seeing how most people cooperate with at least a few people, you’ll have to teach your co-workers about your specific security requirements, which means writing a security policy:
Require Strong Passwords
You’d be surprised to find out just how many people still use the infamous “123456” so if you provide your employees with “company devices” let them know that they have to have multiple strong passwords.
Educate them about Email
Most people today are just too careless when they use email, and you don’t want one of your employees or interns to end up clicking on an attachment or site that may contain a virus.
Tackle Social Media from the Get-Go
As we all clearly know, social media is currently dominating the world; neither you or any team members can completely abandon those social media accounts. Instead, stay empowered with the best guidelines and practices. And when it comes to things like social media posting, you should also have clear guidelines what information is okay to post and what isn’t. Furthermore, you have determine who can even post, whether to include your intern, assistant or publicist.
You have a lot of competition – according to statistics gathered by Yahoo – there are over 543,000 new businesses every day, in the United States alone. The Internet has enabled authors from every corner of the world to compete for the same readers. And if you want to succeed, the first thing you need to do is ensure that your company, no matter how small you think you are, is safe from any outside interference.
Thomas Milva is an Information Security Analyst. He loves his job, but he also loves spending his time in nature, because he’s working from home, which sometimes means not getting enough fresh air. He also regularly writes for wefollowtech.com, where he often comments on the latest web trends in his articles. Thomas currently lives in Baton Rouge with his dog, two fish and his girlfriend.