As the year begins to ramp up, small business owners juggle a host of operational and financial objectives. Resolving to improve cyber security should be paramount among them.
Cyber security risks continue to grow across all industries, regardless of an organization’s size. Data shows that being small won’t protect your company from attacks such as business identity theft, fraud or an intentional data breach. In fact, small businesses are favored targets of hackers and other cyber criminals.
To boost your cyber security, consider adopting these cyber security resolutions for 2014:
1. Create a cyber security plan if you don’t have one. Update yours if one is already in place.
Whether you already have a plan or need to create one, the FCC offers a great resource for getting started. The Cyber Planner walks small business owners through a series of prompts to help customize a cyber security plan that covers key topics such as data and network security, mobile devices, payment security, incident response and more.
2. Implement cyber security SOPs for all employees.
These should include:
- Use of strong passwords (12 characters or longer, with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numerals and special characters)
- Quarterly (or more frequent) password changes
- Logging off networks nightly
- Strict guidelines for use of personal devices for business purposes
- Regular data backups and security software updates
3. Professionally audit existing security procedures, hardware and software.
If your small business doesn’t have a dedicated IT professional (and most don’t), hire a security expert to conduct a one-time audit of your systems and make recommendations for improving cyber security. Larger businesses that have IT teams should audit for security at least once a year, but preferably multiple times throughout the year.
4. Strengthen your data breach response plan.
Since you’re reading this blog, we’re going to assume you already understand the value of having a plan for how your organization will respond when a data breach occurs. No matter how good yours is, there’s always room for improvement. Experian’s Data Breach Response guide can help your organization create or refine a response plan that will help mitigate the financial and reputational damages of a data breach. The brochure is available for free download.