How to Keep Your Small Business Secure
How many passwords do you have written on post it notes, in a Word document or a notepad that gets passed around? How often do you change your passwords? How unique are your passwords? Do you trust the people (and the people around those people) who have access to your passwords? Are you keeping all of your passwords on the same document?
In this day and age there are so many passwords needed in order to get work done. I wish there was a way to just have one password and only have to log in once when I sit down. However, that could be awful if someone was able to hack into that one password!
Recently, I was in the middle of catching up client work. I ran out the door to pick up 3 cute kids from kindergarten. In the meantime, my neighbor messaged me to let me know that someone had hacked my personal Instagram to sell sunglasses from Taiwan. I checked, and, sure enough, she was right. The Instagram account she saw was an old one that I hadn’t used for probably 6 years. I didn’t even remember that it existed! I quickly closed the account for good and haven’t been back since.
When your personal info is hacked, it can be scary. But, when you own a small business, you are very vulnerable. Many times, you don’t have time to keep up professional security practices, nor do you have the infrastructure available to you due to costs. Here are some simple tips for keeping your small business secure that are easy to maintain and upkeep:
Tips for small business security:
Change your passwords routinely. Make them long and not “real” words, but intersperse numbers or symbols
Find ways around giving out your password. Offer to login and show the screen to the person doing work for you. Make them a collaborator or guest so they have their own login.
If you do need to share your password, here are 2 options:
Use a password encrypting program like Onetimesecret or LastPass when sharing passwords
Send the username through email/text/chat and call the person and give your password (the password is untraceable by bots and crawlers that are looking for the word “password” and whatever comes after it)
If you share your password with anyone, change it immediately after the task is completed
Don’t have all of your passwords in one place on a document online or on a piece of paper right by the computer (you know who you are!)
Look out for others. Let them know (through a personal text outside of the program --otherwise people might be confused that your message is spam/from the hacker) that you received a message or saw a post that you don’t think was made by them.
If you get a strange email/message or something seems off, get out of the program right away, delete it and report it.
If you see something, say something. If my neighbor hadn’t alerted me to the fact that something seemed out of place to her, I probably would have never known. If my old account had the same password as other important business accounts, they would instantly have access to my business accounts. If you feel that something is off for someone else’s online presence, or if you receive an email from a long lost friend with many typos, trust that feeling of off and report it.
For more specifics on security and what to watch out for, watch this GBS Next Level Conference session we did with Security expert, Kara Turner. She talks about Cyber Security for small businesses (Kara starts at around 40:08)
These slides from her session are invaluable and go into more detail about what to watch out for and what to do if issues do arise:
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