We hear and read about it all the time in the news; data breaches affecting large financial institutions and big-box retail stores; another familiar headline splashed across the tv screen.

But what about small businesses?

Due to the false sense of security interpreted by many small business owners, it has become a common belief that only large corporations require strong security measures to run their business successfully and safely. However, this can’t be further from the truth.

As a small business owner, you may be more susceptible to security risks and cyber-attacks than the large companies we hear about in the media.

There should be a sense of greater urgency to establish a secure work environment for your business. There is no question that data breach cases are on the rise, as are identity theft cases, both of which can be financially detrimental and difficult to recover from. Failing to have the necessary security processes in place can also reflect on the reputation you’re working to build.

Why are Small Businesses Targeted?

Shocking enough, studies show that at least one out of every four small businesses falls victim to being hacked or experiences cybercrime, simply due to a lack of security measures in place.

What are some other reasons that motivate criminals to go after small businesses?

  • Lack of security monitoring for the website and user accounts
  • Little or no employee awareness regarding online and offline security protocols
  • Failing to have document management processes in place to protect sensitive data

How Can Your Business Improve its Security Measures?

Recognize and Understand Your Legal Responsibilities

Concerning data protection, there are specific state and federal privacy laws that apply to your small business. If you are unaware of these, it is in your best interest to do your research and learn about these as there are legal requirements involved. At the end of the day, it is ultimately your legal requirement as a business owner to follow certain protocols and stay compliant.

Secure Document Management Processes
Only manage information that is crucial to your operations, and always maintain strict access over these records to prevent security risks. Keep a current and organized list of inventory that also includes information that is considered private. All files should be labelled according to their retention period; this applies to both electronic and written documents.

Use IT Protection and Update Antivirus Software
Consider using the latest technological safeguards to prevent and identify suspicious malware or viruses. Reliable antivirus software is your first line of defense against security threats. Antivirus software ensures that your data stored in the device is kept safe from being stolen, damaged, or spied upon by unauthorized programs, botnets, or spyware.

Highlight Physical Safety Measures
A Clean Desk Policy is a great approach that keeps your workplace organized and secure while reminding staff to keep sensitive information protected at all times. To contribute to this new policy, consider placing lockable collection bins throughout your workplace, allowing employees to properly dispose of confidential records, no longer needed. A recycling bin is not the place for these documents as it is far too easy for information to be lost or stolen in an open bin.

Once your collection bins reach capacity, simply request a pick-up from your document shredding provider. A representative will immediately transfer these documents into a mobile shredder, or off-site at a facility for secure shredding purposes. All details will remain unrecoverable for good, giving you that much-needed peace of mind.

Train Employees and Perform Risk Assessments
Emphasizing the above measures can only be effective if there is ongoing training for your employees in place. When it comes to information security and tips to stay protected, your staff need to understand what is expected of them. Create a Security Risk Assessment Schedule to determine whether or not there are security gaps in your business and which areas require attention and improvement.

Secure Paper Shredding
Partner with a trusted and experienced document shredding company, for the safe handling of your critical records. SAFESHRED provides a variety of document shredding and management solutions to fit your unique budget and needs.

We’d love to talk to you about your current security practices, and how our solutions can improve them.  Reach out to our team and we’ll discuss all your options! You will never regret investing in your security as a small business owner.

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