If you’re new to being a small business owner, you may understand that you need a robust web presence as well as a large social media following to help grow your business and make your brand a well-known name. What you may not be aware of, however, is that you need to put security precautions in place to protect your data, your clients’ information, and your company as a whole. Regardless of the size of your company, many experts agree that putting cybersecurity measures into place as soon as possible is a good idea. This is especially true since many cybercriminals tend to focus on smaller businesses since they’re less likely to have measures in place to protect sensitive data and information.
Here are three ideas and actions for small business owners to take when starting or growing the online facets of their businesses.
Invest in Cloud Security
Most people have heard of cloud technology, whether it be on their phones, tablets, computers, or other devices. Did you know that you can use a cloud to protect your company’s web infrastructure as well? If you’re a new business owner, you may not have much extra capital to spend, but implementing the right high-quality security is well worth the expense. Make sure you choose a cloud system that boasts a high level of protection.
If you’re not sure where to start regarding cloud security, there are many experts available to lend you a helping hand. For example, browse through sites that give you access to a wealth of trusted, experienced IT experts who specialize in cloud security and all that it entails. These talented individuals can help you better understand and set up your cloud security. Just make sure you read reviews to ensure the person you’re hiring for the job has all the necessary skills to deliver the result you want. What’s more, hiring freelancers makes it more affordable than hiring an employee or an entire IT department for these jobs.
Protect Your Data and Your Clients’ Information
You may be under the impression that hackers and those who would willingly steal others’ personal and financial info only go after big-name companies, but this couldn’t be further from the truth! According to TechJury, 66 percent of businesses have experienced a cyberattack.
Think of your business as a house: If your door is left open, it may not be long before someone walks inside and grabs your TV or favorite antique dresser. Don’t leave your front door unattended: Use firewalls, VPNs, and any strategy you can think of — like using a secure password — to secure your network and keep it safe from opportunists and hackers.
If you’re handling this task yourself, remember that knowledge is power. Read up on and research the best ways to protect your clients’ information and data, and definitely don’t cut corners. A breach can completely destroy your reputation and derail your business, so it’s something you need to take very seriously when approaching it on your own.
Unfortunately, sometimes the worst-case scenario will occur and individuals will gain access to your data. In the event that something happens, you need to have a recovery plan in place. This should include a plan of action that involves informing your clients and customers about the breach, as well as the steps you’ll take to recover any destroyed data. When addressing customers about the situation, include information about how you intend to correct the problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Remember to always be upfront and transparent with your clients and customers; attempting to lie or hide the data breach will further damage your reputation and business.
When in Doubt, Hire an Expert
You may not have the education or training to complete a full data backup or set up a cloud account — perhaps you’re more of the big-picture entrepreneurial side of the business — and that’s perfectly okay. As mentioned, you can easily invest some of your business resources in the hiring of a professional web developer or cybersecurity expert who can secure your networks, perform regular backups of your data, and make sure your company’s internet settings are helping and not hurting your security. Sticking with freelancers will help ensure you’re not spending too much money on full-time employees or entire teams. Also, with freelancers, you can hire a person for a specific job, meaning you won’t have to continue paying the individual once they’ve completed the project.
Cybersecurity can be a confusing, overwhelming, and frustrating topic for new business owners as well as those who do not have training. It’s hard enough to multitask and devote time to the necessary areas as it is! Remember that a cloud security system as well as any precautions you can install to protect and secure important client data go a long way to keeping your system safe and secure from cyberattacks. If you feel that you’re getting in over your head, working with a large amount of data, or dealing with delicate or financial information, it may be best to hire a professional freelancer you know you can trust for the job.