Dealing with security as a small business

Fantastic, you own a small company, you’re just starting out into the big wide world, you have your own offices and everything, the sky’s the limit. But wait! There are dangers out there, threats, issues you are likely to face and security concerns are around every corner.

How do you identify these threats before it’s too late? How can you even begin to deal with a potential security risk when you have no idea where it’s going to come from or what form it’s going to take?

Never fear, I will take you through some of the most common security threats small businesses face, and give you some easy, and inexpensive tips for defending against these.

Types of threat:

There are several different types of security threat you might face as a small business, all of them dangerous and with the capacity to shut your business down:

Natural threat.
These are threats brought on by natural disasters and extreme conditions. It can be very hard to anticipate such events but it is vital that you maintain the continuity of your business during times such as these.

Virtual Threat.
These are threats from cyberspace; hackers, malicious code, spear phishing, all examples of virtual security threats. These can be some of the toughest threats to combat because they tend to mask themselves very well within your business infrastructure. They can lie dormant in a system for weeks, preparing, establishing back doors into your files and networks, just waiting to strike, and when they do it can often have drastic consequences.

Physical Threat.
These relate to common identified attacks, these can be vandalism, burglary, theft or loss of data/equipment, and many other attacks that are deliberate and can be linked to people either within or outside of your business.

So, how do we deal with these threats?

There isn’t a one size fits all solution to these threats, the important part for your business is to conduct an assessment, possibly with the help of a security company these companies often provide a free no obligation consultation, and it’s this that we’re after.

They will come and assess your site, pull out any major security risks and give you a recommended solution for those risks.

Be careful here, as the solutions they offer will almost always be using “in house” units, from their own stock, or their resale partners. This can be good as you’re bound to get a decent service, they usually install for you and set up your systems, but on the other hand, it might be quicker and easier to do it yourself.

Simple Security Precautions.

To defend against natural threats, it’s important that your company works with redundant systems, so backup regularly, and save these backups somewhere safe, preferably in a waterproof, secured unit. Or, a better option is to backup over the internet. There are many secure backup providers out there, and they will take care of your critical data for you.
It is important to note however that this form of backup means you won’t be able to access your data until you have re-established an internet connection.

Virtual threats, whilst being the hardest to detect, can be the easiest to protect against.
Avoid using large scale networks, routing through the same site is fine, but try to compartmentalise your business across multiple, independent servers. This will reduce the risk of any attack, and, coupled with a good set of firewalls and access passwords that rotate frequently, your business will be as safe as it can be. It is important to note that in case an attack gets through your defences, the daily backups you’ve been performing of critical data, will be invaluable in restoring your systems.

Physical threats are easy, as they can be combated using physical means. Gates, fences, CCTV and security lighting are all worthwhile investments for the new business. They tend to last a long time, so they don’t incur massive monthly costs. Controlling site access is another important method of keeping your site protected, whether this is by conventional lock and keys, or digital keyfob style locks.

The options are huge, and within the industry there are many options, if in doubt it’s worth the effort of hiring a security consultant to help you make the right decisions. At the end of the day, how much you invest in security is directly comparable to how much you value your business.