Keep your Small Business Secured by Taking these 4 Steps

Published: Dec 22, 2018

Security is one of the most overlooked aspects when starting a small business. You might be exposing yourself to countless security threats when conducting your business, without even knowing it.

To start, you’re not the one who might be exposing your business to threats. Many small businesses adopt the BYOD mentality, which is likely to increase the chance of a data breach when you’re not looking. If your employees are not able to keep their systems secured, you and your business become exposed.

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With you and your employees being exposed to various threats you are probably not even aware of, it might be just the time to take some measures and add a few layers of security to your business. Here are 4 steps to secure your small business.

1- Have a Documented Security Policy

For any business to function securely, it is essential to draft up a proper security policy in order to have a detailed documentation of the business’s cybersecurity protocol.

A written policy is available for review at every level of organization. So, in the event of any security breach, the information obtained from the security policy guides the appropriate person to take the next best action in order to fight this looming cyber threat.

Furthermore, should your business suffer from a security issue such as a data breach, it would be in your best interest to find the person culpable and make sure everybody’s learned their lesson. A written cyber security protocol in this case would act as the ultimate authoritative documentation that every business owner should turn to, in order to review the incident and prevent it from happening again. A documented security policy keeps you safe in the present and protects you from similar threats in the future.

2- Install A Holistic Cybersecurity Solution

Your business must have a multi-layered security plan on an application level in order to ensure its safety from cybercriminals. This needs to be done on both the hardware side and the software side.

First, purchase a security gateway appliance with a network firewall that understands application-level protocols and keeps the system safe from intrusions. pfSense have a variety of solutions based on businesses sizes and budgets, so you should find one that suits you best. That’s the hardware part.

Second, run your entire cybersecurity operation with an IT management software. A solution like Cloud Management Suite will enable you to first and foremost run an automatic patch deployment process which keeps all your systems up to date. This simple and yet crucial step will prevent multiple vulnerabilities from ever being born. It will also act as an intrusion detection system (IDS) and intrusion prevention system (IPN) that monitors network behavior, detects malicious activities and kills threats in real time.

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Investing in cybersecurity on both the software level and the hardware level will make your business take the first essential steps towards complete security.

3- Have Better User Authentication and Access Controls

Authentication should be an integral part of every process. It is one of the five pillars of information assurance (IA). Every partner, employee and customer should be authenticated before they are allowed access into sensitive applications. Authentication helps to confirm the user’s identity and helps to keep the system secured from any unauthorized access.

Access control is the framework under which authentication happens. Access control systems help to identify users and entities by checking the login credentials and match security tokens or perform biometric scans. There are five different types of access controls available:

  • Mandatory Access Control (MAC): In this type of model, the security rights rests with a central authority that has the power to grant or revoke access. Your company should be the MAC who must have the power to control the access of B2B partners and the customers.
  • Discretionary Access Control (DAC): In this type of control, the owner of a resource grants rights of access to other people based on the policies defined in the first stage.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC): Many companies adopt this access model where access is decided on the basis of roles. A person with executive powers like the CEO of the company is provided access to several resources that an assistant manager might not have. Hence, this type of access control structure is complex where access is decided on the basis of roles and position in the company.
  • Rule-Based Access Control: This is a customized form of access control where the administrator provides access to personnel or objects based on certain rules like the time of the day or location.
  • Attribute-based access control (ABAC): This is another complex form of access control system where access is decided on the basis of attributes possessed by the entities like the relationship between people or systems.

Pick the strategy that suits your business’s needs best and start making sure that no unauthorized entity has the ability to access sensitive information.

4- Have a PCI Compliant Hosting Provider

This is a best practice for businesses that have recurrent transaction processes on their websites, such as e-commerce ventures. The hosting provider must continuously monitor the business process and the network in order to be PCI compliant. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) governs the companies that accept any form of card payments. Hence, your e-commerce business must have a PCI compliant hosting provider.

There are 12 requirements as suggested by the PCI DSS that every hosting provider hosting sites accepting card payments must possess:

  • Installing a firewall to protect the information of cardholders.
  • Not using default passwords and other security settings supplied by vendors.
  • Use of a formal data retention policy and encrypting information to protect the stored cardholder’s data.
  • Proper encryption of card holder’s data across public networks.
  • Protection of all systems against malware and other attacks.
  • Maintenance of systems and keeping their updated against all forms of data thefts.
  • Restriction of card holder’s data access by employees or other people who are not authorized to view the data.
  • Identification and granting access to users who have the authority to work on system components.
  • Restricting physical access to cardholder data.
  • Regularly updating and testing system processes and components.
  • Maintaining a comprehensive security policy that meets all the security needs.

Conclusion

It is true that rapid innovations in technology are leading to insecure devices and data is becoming vulnerable to cyber-attacks. If we leave our systems and data compromised then it will become extremely easy for cybercriminals to access them on a large scale. That’s why you should adopt the above best practices to bolster your security game in your small business, and keep those cyber criminals out of your hair.