Table of Contents
1. The inventory of your systems and information
Taking inventory of your assets is the first step to securing a small business.
By knowing what systems are in place and where they are located, it is possible to increase the security of your environment. The inventory should include all devices and services that process your company’s data (notebooks, hosting providers, mobile phones, etc.), as well as all installed software (operating systems, office applications, etc.). This process can be time consuming, but is essential to ensure you have an overview of your systems and the information that needs to be protected in your organization.
After taking an inventory of the software, hardware and sensitive information, you should at least roughly determine how important the individual items on your list are for your company.
Think about how much, for example, a failure of your systems would disrupt business operations.
A non-operational video conferencing system should be easier for the company to cope with than the failure of the accounting system, as a result of which no more invoices can be written.
You should also think about the consequences of a leak (disclosure) of certain information. As a result, confidential information must be better protected and should also be recognizable as such.
2. Define the responsibilities
When it comes to information security, small and medium-sized companies face special challenges. They often lack the know-how, the experienced workforce and the highly complex security solutions of larger companies. It is all the more important for SMEs to define which functions and responsibilities they need for the security of their IT.
3. Assess the risks
As a small business owner, it’s important to be aware of the potential threats to your business and the consequences of a successful attack. One of the most common dangers is a cyber attack, which can lead to loss of confidential data, financial loss and damage to reputation.
Other threats are physical theft or vandalism, which can lead to the loss of inventory, loss of customer trust and higher insurance premiums. In addition, small businesses are often the target of increasingly sophisticated fraud schemes that can result in financial loss and compromise of important customer data.
Therefore, the first step in improving your information and cyber security is to assess the risks you face. What are the potential threats to your business? What are the consequences of a successful attack?
4. Establishing a certain level of data protection
A certain level of data protection is crucial for the information security of any organization.
It is irrelevant whether you maintain your data protection management system yourself, with an internal or an external data protection officer . By taking steps to ensure that data, particularly personal data, is properly secured, organizations can reduce the risk of data breaches and information security compromises from cybercriminals.
5. Regular software updates
One of the best ways to protect your computer is to keep your software up to date on a regular basis . Software updates often include security patches that can prevent hackers from gaining access to your system. Also, updated software may add new features and improve performance. While it may be tempting to put off updates, keeping your system up-to-date is important to staying safe online.
Thankfully, most modern software can be set to update automatically, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself. It is important here that new updates are checked for compatibility with the existing systems.
6. IT security – firewalls, virus scanners, passwords, encryption & mobile devices
Another important step in improving IT security for small and medium-sized businesses is the implementation of basic IT security or IT security measures . This includes installing a firewall, using antivirus software, using strong passwords and encryption important, sensitive data
7. Document rules and emergency plans in a security concept
To ensure your organization is prepared in the event of a security incident, it is important to document your rules and security procedures in an emergency plan . This plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure it is current.
A contingency plan helps companies be prepared for the worst case scenario (such as a power outage), so you and your colleagues know exactly what to do if it does .
8. The regular creation of backups
A study on cyber security before the 2019 pandemic revealed that almost 60% of all companies affected by a data loss or cyber attack are bankrupt within 6 months of the attack on their IT systems. With the huge boost that digitalization has received from the pandemic, this number is likely to be far higher. With such a high risk for your own organization, it quickly becomes clear that regular backups are essential for every institution.
9. Train employees
Educating co-workers on security best practices is essential for any organization as most attempts to compromise information security come from unsuspecting users.
It’s important that everyone who has access to your IT knows how to keep it secure.
Trained workers use strong passwords, don’t open links or email attachments they didn’t expect, and follow other best practices to ensure a level of data security and privacy.
10. Stay up to date
It is important for small and medium-sized businesses to stay up to date with the latest information security threats . While it may seem like a daunting task.