As businesses increasingly store confidential information and data in cloud services, the need for more complex security practices and strategies is clear. Although headlines about security breaches are more common for large companies, the threat of cyber crime is still very real for small businesses, where online security tends to be weaker.
The problem, of course, is that small businesses often lack the necessary resources and security policies to defend against these attacks, making them an easier target for hackers.
In the face of these threats, your organization should adopt and implement companywide security policies to minimize your weaknesses. Start with the following tips and conduct research on evolving techniques that fit your company's unique profile and the lessons you've already learned along the way.
1. Manage email security and validate potential threats.
Look to deter break-ins from opportunity theft by encrypting your company emails and communications. This will force a hacker to fight through another layer of protection, and that generally isn't worth their time when they can steal other information elsewhere without the hassle. Think of email encryption as the equivalent to locking your car doors, the theory being that a burglar is more likely to look for an unlocked door than bother breaking a window. While you're not entirely secure, every additional roadblock can help protect your information.
2. Enforce strict password policies.
The next step to prevent cybercrime starts with securing your most vulnerable assets, your staff. Train employees on the importance of using smarter passwords, which are crucial to upgrading cyber security. Although longer, complex and difficult passwords may seem like a hassle to your employees, you should still create a company policy to mandate them.
Passwords should never be the same across multiple platforms, and it's best to change them often--every three months at a minimum. In addition, passwords should not be stored in the cloud or on sticky notes around the office.
3. Further train your employees on the warning signs.
Every employee should also be trained on understanding the warning signs of a harmful email or phishing scam. These emails may be disguised as a trusted client's email or a recognizable brand, but these scams tend to have a few dead giveaways.
Emails that contain multiple spelling mistakes or suspicious links should also be carefully inspected before proceeding. Sometimes links within an email can appear to be normal but actually prompt an unwanted download where malicious software can be installed; always use caution and consider scanning your emails with a trusted anti-virus software such as AVG or Avast.
4. Take advantage of malware, spyware and firewall software programs.
In addition, mandate that each machine used for company business have malware, spyware and firewall software installed to help catch and eliminate threats before they become problematic.
Related: Why your password is hackerbait
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.