Information Security for Small Businesses and Home Offices
Myth 1: Operating a small business rather than a large business makes me less likely to be a target for information theft.
Reality: Thieves go after valuable things no matter how big you are. Every employee is a potential entry point for a cyberattack. In fact, small businesses can be an easier target because they often lack the protection that a larger business can afford. Keeping the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) you have access to secure is your responsibility, and your small business can be held liable for any breach of this information.
Myth 2: Operating my business from my home is just as secure as being in a commercial office space.
Reality: There are some advantages to working out of the home, but if you’ve moved from a shared business office, you may no longer enjoy the security of protected networks, backup systems, and a secure building.
Small businesses and home offices face similar—and in some cases additional—challenges than larger, established offices do. Here are some small business and home office challenges you may not have considered:
Are you using a secured network in your small business or home office? Drive-by hackers are aware small and home businesses are often easy targets to infiltrate. Increase your level of security by using a WiFi router with the latest security and make sure firewalls are enabled and configured for maximum security. Creating strong passwords using letters, numbers and symbols is vital, and changing them frequently is also important.
Using up-to-date antivirus and malware protection software will also increase security. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in your office, home and when on the road. This will hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic. When your hard drives and other electronic media outlive their useful life, use a hard drive shredding service to render them permanently unreadable.
The use of apps is a normal part of doing business and can be extremely beneficial. Avoid downloading apps that are uncertified or you are unfamiliar with. Risky apps increase the potential of cyberattack. Uninstall apps you no longer use from your devices. Every “back door” you close increases the security of your information and systems.
Recognizing phishing schemes takes a little bit of knowledge and understanding. You can evaluate links in emails, messages, and social media posts by hovering over the link to make sure it matches what the rest of the content is about and goes to the official website it claims to link to. Misspellings or other irregularities are a red flag. Taking a moment of precaution before clicking a link will reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a phishing scam and save you days, weeks, and months of headaches.
Backing up your electronic documents often will protect you in the event of an accidental deletion and external attacks like ransomware. If your information is taken hostage, you will always have a very current copy of your information making recovery much quicker. There are many good options for manual or automatic cloud backups.
If visual or physical access to your work information is accessible, that information is at risk. This is especially the case in a home office if you have visitors or service workers in your home. You can use locked cabinets to protect documents when you’re not there. Keeping your office away from regular traffic and in a separate and secure room in your home will also assist. Avoid discarding documents into a trash can or recycling bin. Using a NAID AAA Certified commercial or residential shredding service will offer provide you with secure destruction of discarded documents and let you sleep comfortably at night.
Apex Shredding is Northern Colorado’s NAID AAA Certified shredding service. We offer scheduled shredding, one-time purge shredding, and drop off shredding to fit your home or small office needs. To help you keep your information secure, give us a call at 970-532-5007 or complete the form on this page.