A survey revealed that 87% of small businesses had a security breach in 2012 — hackers no longer focus on large companies with large profit margins.
This means that as a small business owner, you need to make sure that you’re keeping your customer’s information safe as well as ensuring that your products are getting to your customers without damage or theft.
Below are some tips to make sure that your small business stays secure against any type of threat.
Although 69% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. start their business at home, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t brick and mortar locations for those businesses. Whether you have an office, a retail store, or a storage space, it’s important to install a security system in your space. If someone is set on breaking in, locks on the doors and windows will most likely not be enough to deter the intrusion.
Look into a security system that has both an alarm system and a camera system included. Cameras inside your store can deter possible shoplifters, and in the case of a break-in, they may be able to help catch the perpetrators. In an office setting, cameras within the office may be less needed, but you can have outdoor cameras that point at any entryways to ensure that no unwanted guests come to the office.
Vet Your Vendors
Many small businesses use vendors to get supply their products. You have to be sure when you are starting a business relationship with a new vendor that you vet them. If you have one step of your supply chain that is not completely secure, you are placing your entire supply chain at risk. Doing a full background check on any possible vendors can save you from security and supply issues down the line.
Make sure that you look at any and all online reviews of the supplier you’re considering working with, whether they are on google, yelp, or the supplier’s website. Reviews will reveal what the company you’re thinking of working with is actually like and can truly help you get a sense of the business’ practices. Look for reviews that answer the questions of whether or not they deliver products on time and in good condition. Every second there are 2,760 packages that are shipped, and if your supplier is not taking care to ensure that their shipments are secured and packaged properly, you may encounter issues.
Make sure to also do a credit check on the supplier to see if they are going to be reliable or if they will make late payments and cause other monetary problems. You need to be sure that you can trust your suppliers, and some background research can help you know that they are a worthwhile business to work with.
Install Cybersecurity Measures
If you think that small businesses are not a target for cyberattacks, you would be sadly mistaken. Larger companies may mean a larger payday for a potential hacker, but the average small business doesn’t have the same security measures as a large business. This means that a hacker can get into a small business’s cyberspace easier, which makes it more time-effective for them. Make sure that your business is not a target for hackers by taking cybersecurity measures. Here are a few ways to make your business more secure:
- Use a VPN. A VPN, or a virtual private network, lets users send and receive information and data in a closed network that is more difficult to access than an average network. There are many services that will set up a VPN for you, so makes sure to research your options.
- Use the Cloud. Although having your own secure network is a great way to keep things secure, using a cloud service is also a great cybersecurity measure. These services are constantly improving to ward off cyberattacks, and they will be able to stop potential threats much more readily.
Shred or Wipe Documents
Throwing away physical documents with sensitive information can also be dangerous in terms of your small business’s security. Even though physical documents may not be as easy to get access to as unsecured digital files, they can still be stolen and used by the savvy thief.
If you have any paper documents such as bank statements, credit card bills, sensitive passwords, or customer information, you have to make sure to make it completely unreadable before you dispose of the documents. One easy way to do this is to shred any documents that have any sort of sensitive information on them before throwing them out. You can also wipe the documents by covering up and blacking out any possibly sensitive information.
Make Sure All Employees Are Aware of Your Policies
If any of your employees are working on personal devices, like a cell phone, tablet, or laptop, make sure that they have access to the proper cybersecurity tools to make it so that they are not endangering company or customer information. This could mean that you require employees to download any specific cybersecurity software that you usually use in your home or it could mean only having them log in when they have access to the company’s VPN.
If you have employees that are working from home due to illness, make sure that they know to properly dispose of any sensitive documents they may have printed out. If they don’t have access to your normal disposal methods, ask that they hold onto documents until they can be properly taken care of.
No matter the size of your company, if you don’t think proactively about security, you could easily become the victim of a theft. Whether that is someone breaking into your store or stealing information from your servers, there is no limit to what thieves will do to achieve their ends. Many of them are looking for the easiest possible target, so making sure that your company is not going to end up on the list.
What security measures have you taken for your business? Have you ever had problems with hackers or theft? Let us know in the comments.