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Security Feature

August 23, 2016

10 Essential Security Points Startups Should Keep in Mind

By Special Guest
Joy Mali, Certified Digital Analyst

If your business suffers a breach in computer or information security, you could deal with fallout from which you might never be able to recover. It will be difficult to earn back your customers’ trust and to convince them that such a problem will never happen again. The best offense is a strong defense, and fortunately, there are several tips that can help you keep your network protected, ensuring that your startup stays as secure as possible. 

Perform Network Scans

Hackers can wreak havoc on your business, as they can steal customer and company data once they have access to your network. To protect your business from these criminals, it is important to scan your network regularly. These scans – including port, vulnerability and network scans – will identify areas of vulnerability that a hacker might be able to exploit. Once the areas of weakness are identified, you can implement more protective efforts in order to keep your business safe.

Use Updated Firewalls

Firewalls have long been used as a basic line of defense to ensure that a computer system is safe. Technology – including firewall programs – has improved over the years, so businesses need to ensure that they have the latest generation of firewall software available to protect their networks. A good firewall will focus on the destination and source of IP addresses and ports.

Choose Updated Antivirus Software

A good antivirus software program is also a basic of network and computer security. These programs are designed to scan your computers for any suspicious or potentially harmful software that could try to find its way on to your network. It is important to keep this software updated to protect against new threats. A good antivirus software program will both identify new malware and viruses and remove them safely.

Research Intrusion (News - Alert) Prevention Options

Intrusion prevention systems are relatively new concepts for protecting networks. These systems maintain a database of known ways networks are currently being attacked in order to recognize attacks and stop employees from making mistakes that could allow an attack to result. A good intrusion prevention system such as Snort is useful in preventing intrusions from happening accidentally.

Install Alarms

Alarms are incredibly useful at protecting a startup, as they’ll warn you when anything abnormal occurs. Network alarms can alert you to a potential hacking or a suspicious download. Physical problem alarms also exist to keep your equipment and employees safe, helping you to avoid costly repairs, equipment replacements and potential lawsuits in the event of a fire, flood or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Hire Reliable and Trustworthy Employees

Unfortunately, many security breaches that companies face are a result of employee misconduct or errors. During hiring activities, make sure that you run the proper background checks on any potential employees. While this might sound like common sense, it is a crucial activity in avoiding internal theft.

One way to ensure that you are getting honest and trustworthy employees is to only hire from credible sources. You should post open positions on your business website or use a reputable job agent that can help you to filter out applicants. Taking the extra time to make informed hiring and personnel decisions can save you money and a lot of stress in the long run.

Encrypt Your Data

Unfortunately, it is impossible to protect your system against all forms of hacking, but encrypting your data is one way to avoid data loss as a result of hacking. Encryption works by converting data into a code. The end-user will only access the data through a protected portal that is set up to read the code. Encryption will render the data unreadable if a thief is somehow able to access it.

Businesses often use encryption to protect their financial information, including credit card numbers. Encryption can be useful for protecting personal or business information, and there are options for encryption outsourcing that can offer your business optimal protection.

Back Up Your Data

One thing to consider if hackers access your network to steal data is how you’ll get the data back. Running a routine backup of your network can give you a copy in the event that your data is compromised and goes missing. A backup for your business will minimize the amount of time that you’ll have to go without accessing your data.

It is important to remember that data can also be lost as a result of a natural disaster, so you should keep your backups off-site. This will help to avoid a complete loss of information. Backup protection will get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible if data loss occurs.

Add Video Cameras

One important way to keep your business safe is to add video camera surveillance. Make sure your employees know that their actions are being monitored, and post signs that tell visitors and staff that you are recording on the premises. Make sure the video is powered independently so that you’ll be able to access the video feeds remotely.  Video cameras are also effective in crime prevention and can help the police to catch a culprit in the event of a potential burglary.

Implement Web Filters

When running a small business, you are always at risk of someone using your network that decides not to follow your rules. If someone decides to access content or download something that they should not be using, they could open up your network to a whole host of problems. Web filtering is a good tool to control what is accessed by people on your business network, and it can block users from accessing harmful web and email content that could jeopardize your system.

You’ve worked hard to develop your startup and to make it flourish. Don’t waste all of your time, money and hard work by failing to keep it properly protected. By following these tips, you can ensure that your business stays safe and secure, fending off many potential threats before they ever become a problem. 

Edited by Alicia Young

Technology Marketing Corporation

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