16 BestbBusiness Security Gate

Business security gate:  With a third of small businesses falling victim to online crime, this is where we explain the risks and how best to protect yourself.

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Business security gate

Today, technologies like cloud computing, mobility, social, and big data and analytics are enabling small- and midsized businesses (SMBs) to do more with less, reach new markets and focus on creativity and invention instead of IT.

Think about the records, legal documents, marketing data, cash, and people found inside the walls of your business. Are you doing your best to protect them?

Here are things you can do right now to secure everything from smartphones to doors.

While all of these suggestions won’t apply to every company.

If you work your way through this list.

You’re sure to find some practical steps that you can take to protect your people and assets.

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Business security gate

The statistics for cybercrime, online fraud, and data theft make for disturbing reading.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reckons the cost to each business is £4,000 per year, with around a third of FSB members falling victim to online crimes such as malware infections, hacking attacks, or full-on data breaches.

For the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) owner especially, the impact of such attacks goes beyond the immediate financial loss and disruption to the daily working schedule – there’s the loss of reputation and customer trust to factor in, too. Despite this, it’s SMBs that have the most difficulty finding affordable and doable security measures. This can lead to substandard protection or – worse still – no security at all.

To help solve the problem, here are ten simple ways to make your business more secure.

For more on creating an IT security policy, visit 16 Tips to Start Internet Security Services Business 

Business security gate

1. Know your data

Not all data is equal. The starting point for any business must be understanding what data is business-critical or sensitive. You must identify how it’s used and where it’s stored. The most basic of audits can be accomplished just by considering what might happen if a breach were to occur and data, such as financial data, or employee or customer records, was compromised.

Once you understand the likely effect on your business – and there can be multiple “what if” scenarios, depending on the nature of the incident – you’ll have a blueprint for your business-impact levels.

High-risk data needs to be appropriately secured, and you can devote more of your resources to ensuring it is. Just note that your job doesn’t stop there – you can’t ignore data that you’ve classified as less risky; rather, you must prioritize your security efforts accordingly.

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2. Manage your passwords the easy way

Passwords are at the core of every security policy, yet ensuring that they’re secure and enforced isn’t easy. Consumers have services such as LastPass to help generate and manage their passwords, but should a business use password managers?

LastPass and other such services have enterprise versions available at a low cost per user. These offer all the basic secure-password-generation options you’d expect, with a variety of business-orientated extras: for example, you can set company-wide minimum password standards to meet your policy requirements, or apply customized policies to restrict access to specific devices, groups, or locations.

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Then there’s Active Directory (AD)/Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) integration. This can import existing AD profiles, automate reporting tools to highlight weaknesses in the password security chain, and offers real-time syncing across devices to help with the rise of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) culture. It can be protected by a master password, which can be reset or revoked by the administrator.

Business security gate

3. Education

know why it’s important. Education doesn’t need to be expensive: it can be integrated easily into the staff-induction process, and you could consider six-monthly refreshers to bring existing employees up to speed with any changes – including threats of which they should be aware.

Only an hour is needed every now and then to sit with an employee to explain how security applies to their particular role and to answer any questions. Remember, education and communication are just as important tools against cybercrime as the computer technology you use to defend your data.

However, in order to be effective, it has to be implemented from the bottom up and the top down – that is, everyone from the CEO to the summer temp needs to be on board if a security policy is to work. That doesn’t mean the same training should be given to all; the best training is tailored to the specific role of the employee and the threats they may encounter.

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4. Implement a mobile device policy.

Although mobile has risen as the platform of choice for work, shopping, and socializing, we haven’t fully woken up to the tremendous security vulnerabilities which accompany mobile devices and apps. At any given time, malicious code is infecting more than 11.6 million mobile devices. Despite this threat, a recent study revealed that 67 percent of organizations allow their employees to download non-vetted apps on their work devices.

By rooting a device through security flaws in insecure apps, hackers can access sensitive files and documents, and personal data, or hijack a device’s camera or microphone to spy on meetings. SMBs need comprehensive mobile security strategies to defend against these vulnerabilities.

They need to think more broadly than just about device management. There are risks associated with mobile content, apps, and the increasingly popular practice of accessing confidential business data via mobile devices. Implementing a mobile device policy is essential to protecting your business.

Business security gate

5. Choose security that fits your business.

Related post, Do It Yourself Home Security Systems

Today’s SMB Needs a managed security services provider that can deliver a flexible solution cost-effectively, and provide a seamless upgrade path. Additionally, any security approach should include quick, easy access to skilled security professionals, who can help them respond rapidly to any issues or incidents as they arise.

The need for an intelligent, unified front to fight cybercriminals is greater than ever. Organized, complex cyber-crime is rapidly growing, cracking even the most secure companies with highly elaborate schemes. Don’t let your small business become a victim. Be prepared and fight back.

6. To encrypt or not to encrypt?

Of all the tips presented here, encryption is probably the most controversial. But it’s also the most valuable in terms of data protection. It’s controversial because encryption has always been seen as being the realm of the nerd and thus beyond the ken of ordinary business owners; plus there’s the small matter of convenience to consider.

Both arguments are becoming weaker as encryption technologies become easier to deploy and work with. If a laptop/storage device is lost or stolen and the data on it is encrypted, then it’s far less likely to pose a security risk to your business. However, every business needs to weigh up the protection/convenience ratio before jumping in.

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The same goes for data in transit. Despite the recent Heartbleed hacking scare, it’s far safer to make sure all online transactions are carried out using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) than over an insecure connection. The best-practice advice is to investigate what encryption options are available to suit your data, devices, and business usage.

But the bottom line is that, from SSL and encrypted USB containers at one end of the scale to on-the-fly encryption at the other, encrypted data is more secure than data that isn’t. Do you want to risk the consequences of ignoring that?

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7. Be prepared

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An integral part of any small-business IT security strategy is a formal document that goes into proper detail – and is then kept updated, rather than stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about. It may sound tedious, but you must plan not only how to protect your data and resources, but also what to do in the event that things go wrong.

Although many smaller businesses assume such an IT security policy is something that only large enterprises require, they’re wrong – every business, including the smallest SMB, can benefit from implementing a security policy. The trick is to understand that it’s more than just a formal document to be filed away from gathering dust; it should be seen as a dynamic device to help you understand what data security means to the business. You can then build a structured response to suit your needs. Think of it as a commitment to protect all the data you create and use and an absolutely integral part of your business processes.

The best IT security policy will detail not only how to protect your data but also how to react when things go awry. Setting out an incident-response strategy when you have a calm head is far better than trying to put things right in the heat of the moment.

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8. Update, patch, update, patch

If you want your business to be secure, you need to stay up to date. Specifically, you must update all the software you use day-to-day in your business: the operating systems of all the devices, from smartphones to servers, plus the software that runs on the security systems that protect them all.

It’s a no-brainer that keeping your antivirus software up to date will ensure it offers the best possible protection, yet for many small businesses, this is low on the to-do list. Security software, generally, automatically checks for and installs updates. While the same might be said of operating system updates, auto-updates are usually switched off due to the resource drain and disruption they can cause.

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Business security gate

Larger companies have patching policies and automated patch-management systems, but these are beyond the financial and implementational reach of most SMBs. Useful alternatives include deploying scanners to run regular system checks for unpatched or vulnerable software and then scheduling those updates during your business’s off-peak times. Doing nothing isn’t an option, especially if a patch has already been made available. Think about it: if the patch is out, then would-be attackers will be aware of the problem and will be finding ways to exploit it. Patching is relatively low-cost, especially at the smaller end of the business scale, but investing your time in it will bring invaluable rewards when it comes to security.

9. Use Strong Passwords

A strong password policy may be inconvenient, but it’s nowhere near as inconvenient as a data breach or a network crash. Here is a simple, three-step method for creating passwords. Once you create that killer password, you’ll also find three rules for keeping it safe.

10. Control Your Keys

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Do you have enforceable and up-to-date key control policies? With so much attention paid to high-tech threats, it’s easy to forget that those little metal keys can make you pretty vulnerable, too.

Think about how many doors in your facility are accessed via mechanical keys. Do your entry doors require only a key to open? What about file or server rooms? Do you have expensive inventory or supplies protected by lock and key?

Mechanical keys tell no tales. If inventory or supplies go missing, you may have no way to determine who unlocked the door.

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11. Develop a Social Media Policy

Email and social networking have created their own category of security concerns. These technologies make it very simple to disseminate information. And once that information leaves your building, it can rarely, if ever, be recalled. Your email policy should address appropriate content for company emails and social media pages. Assume that nothing will stay private on the internet.

12. Install High-Security Deadbolts

A deadbolt is a physical security standard for protecting exterior doors. Properly installed, a deadbolt will guard your doors against attack by even the most determined intruder. Here is a list of features to consider when selecting a deadbolt for your business.

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13. Install an Alarm System

A modern security system, with its array of electronic components, is designed to sense, decide, and act. The security system senses events (such as motion in a room), decides if the event poses a threat, and then acts on that decision. While a security system for your business isn’t a do-it-yourself affair, you should understand the language of security in order to communicate your needs to a security professional, understand any proposals you may receive, and make the most of your security system after it is installed.

This introduction to security systems takes the sense-decide-act process as an outline and describes the electronic hardware that performs each function.

Business security gate

14. Use Security Cameras

Security cameras are used for two basic purposes: investigation and deterrence. The images that you collect with your security cameras will most often be used to review a crime or accident so that you can understand what really happened. But the cameras themselves also have a deterrent value since people who know they are being watched are usually on their best behaviour.

In order to realize maximum investigative and deterrent value from your cameras, you need to carefully choose where you place them. Here are the 4 best locations to install your security cameras.

15. Write a Visitor Management Policy

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An unauthorized or unescorted visitor can be a physical threat and can also steal sensitive information.

If possible, steer all visitors into a controlled entry point (a gate or receptionist’s desk, for example).

When writing your policy, decide whether visitors should be escorted at all times, or only in certain areas.

Requiring visitors to wear a badge and sign in and out should also be considered.

If your visitor management policy is communicated clearly, employees can more easily serve as your eyes and ears as they will feel more comfortable approaching or reporting a suspicious individual.

Here is a sample visitor management policy that you can use as a guide when writing a customized document for your own business.

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16. Select a Floor Marshall

In a large company, it’s nearly impossible to recognize every vendor, contractor, and the new employee. Not only that, but most folks will not take the initiative to question someone they do not recognize. Intruders know this, and exploiting a lax or non-existent Visitor Management Policy is one way that they can gain access to a facility, steal information or property, or cause physical harm. Assigning a Floor Marshall is a simple and effective way to help protect your business against such intruders.

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