5 Tips for Keeping Your Trades and Contracting Business Secure
With technology constantly advancing, more communication, data, and various areas of operations are shifting to online platforms. It goes without saying that overall this makes life far more efficient and sometimes cost effective, but there are many security risks you need to be aware of.
Cybercrime has surged within the past 5 years and has significantly impacted all industries. Everyone is a target - if your contracting or trades business lacks proper security, you have a high chance of facing major downtime, expensive recovery costs, a hit to your business reputation, and much more.
Here are 5 Ways You Can Improve Your Security Today
1. Data Backups
If your systems, or your vendor, face a breach or a malicious attack, your data can disappear instantly. Consider regularly backing up your data so if a breach does occur, you will still have access to your data and could get your operations running in a reasonable amount of time.
Be sure to test your backups regularly, and ensure you’re storing your backups offsite.
2. Password Management
Everyone of your accounts should have a strong and unique password, however, many businesses struggle to manage and generate them. If you think about it, our passwords are often the only layer of defense against a cybercriminal, so it’s crucial to make them complex.
If you’re struggling with generating and managing your passwords, try out a trusted password management tool such as LastPass.
3. Multi-Factor Authentication/Two-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verifications to gain access to an account/system. In addition to your password, you need to verify your identity by adding a code generated through an app. There are various types of MFA - be sure to avoid the SMS option and use an authenticator app (e.g. Duo, Google Authenticator) or a physical key instead.
4. Employee Onboarding/Offboarding SOPs
It is crucial to maintain a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) outlining exactly what needs to be done when new employees join your company. This helps in many areas including security.
Having a proper SOP for employee offboarding is equally as important for security. Statistics show that around 75% of employees will steal company data after they leave a company. This is why it is essential to keep your employee offboarding SOP handy and up-to-date.
5. Updates & Patching
Cybercriminals are always looking for new points of entry into commonly used systems (Adobe, Google Chrome, MacOS, Windows, etc.).
Ensure you are updating your systems and applications in a timely manner to avoid falling prey to an exploited vulnerability. Software vendors will create urgent patches for new vulnerabilities as they arise, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to push the update button.
The more systems and software you use in your environment, the larger your attack surface becomes. Ultimately, this creates more potential points of entry for a cybercriminal to get through and potentially cause some serious damage.
How do you reduce your attack surface? Simply eliminate any application, system, or device that is not absolutely essential for the operation of your business. Follow this tip, and notice how your security risks significantly decrease alongside the size of your attack surface. And be sure to avoid free software from non-reputable developers - if you are not paying for the product, you are the product.
Implement the 5 tips above to help keep your contracting/trades business safe and secure. By having strong security practices in place, your chances of facing a breach will decline, and in turn, this can benefit your company’s reputation and ability to grow.
If you’re interested in learning more about securing your business, or if you need a second opinion on your specific security/IT needs, feel free to reach out to us at anytime.