Remote work has been on the rise recently, but many people — especially small business owners — have been operating out of their homes for years. Technology has made it possible for almost anyone to start a successful small business and enjoy the benefits of running it from home.
However, that same technology also comes with risks. Cybercrime is also becoming more common and not every business owner can hire a high-tech IT professional to keep things safe 24/7.
That doesn’t mean that you need to live in constant fear of cyber threats or worry that your business could experience a data breach at any moment. While you might not be able to completely prevent a cyberattack, there are proactive steps you can take to protect the digital security of your company and your employees. Let’s take a look at a few of the options that can help boost your business’s security posture.
1. Get “Smart” With Your Security
Smart home devices are nothing new, but they’re becoming more popular and more advanced. Not only do they make it easier to run your business, but they can also help you stay more comfortable at home. Though convenient, smart devices still pose security risks. It’s important to use them safely to keep your data secure.
The more smart tech items you install, the more risks you’ll experience, including things like:
- Targeted attacks
- Password exploitation
- Location tracking
- Secret recordings
You can protect yourself and your business information by having a professional install any smart technology you’re using at home, especially for your business. Additionally, make sure you use a secure network, strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and trustworthy third-party apps. If you hire workers who do their job remotely, encourage them to manage their passwords effectively and never use public Wi-Fi.
2. Protect Your Passwords
Password protection is one of the most essential components to keeping your home business safe. Anything you have to log in to regularly should have a strong password, including your Wi-Fi network, your computer, and any sensitive documents. You can boost password security on most things by enabling two-factor authentication and avoiding using the same password more than once.
However, for specific documents you’re sharing with others, it’s worth it to have a different strong password for each one. For example, if you’re sharing a document with a specific employee or even a client, you don’t want it to have the same password as your network, or even as other documents. Password protect individual PDFs, documents, and files, using unique credentials for each one.
It’s also important that you can safely share the password, through an additional email or message — but not in the same message as the protected document. By sharing password-protected documents, you’re less likely to experience a data breach on those particular pieces of information. As long as you implement the best practices for keeping your passwords hidden and only share them with trustworthy individuals, you’ll have greater peace of mind every time you send out a new document.
Finally, make sure you train your employees about their personal password protection efforts. If your business is home-based and most of your workers are remote, you can’t control the security they have on their personal Wi-Fi networks or computers. However, by educating them on the importance of password protection and giving actionable advice, you’re less likely to experience a breach or data loss due to a weak employee password.
3. Back Everything Up
No matter what type of business you run, you undoubtedly have some kind of data that’s important to its daily function and overall success. If you experience a data breach, not only can that information be compromised, but it could potentially be wiped clean from your network.
One of the best ways to boost your security posture and ensure you don’t lose everything from a cyberattack is to ensure your data is backed up. Critical data examples include:
- Financial files
- Word processing documents
- Accounts receivable/payable
Ideally, you should install a program that automatically backs everything up right away. If you have to do it manually, commit to backing up your data at least once a week. This is also another training and teaching opportunity for your employees, especially if they work remotely. Either make sure your data is all cloud-based so it backs up from your network, or encourage your employees to save and backup whatever they’re working on that isn’t shareable in the cloud.
As a small business owner, you have to wear multiple hats. You probably didn’t think about how well-versed you needed to become in cybersecurity when you started your business. However, if you want to protect what you’ve worked for, being able to boost your digital security at home is essential. Keep these tips in mind to keep your business, employees, and any customer data you might have on file, as safe and secure as possible. The more precautions you have in place, the less likely it is for your business to fall victim to a cyber attack.