Information Security Tips for the Growing Small Business

 

 

Information security has emerged as one of the biggest threats to business organisations, especially those that process information about their clients.

This threat comes in many forms and could be, for example, personal information stolen and sold to companies that compile mailing lists for marketing firms, or it could be financial information used to access bank accounts or create fake credit cards – there are so many uses for stolen information.

Security think-tank ISF’s top security threats for 2014

As is the nature of cybercrime, the nature of cyber-attacks will grow increasingly inventive and sophisticated, as must the measures adopted by businesses with the aim of circumventing them.

Here are five of the ISF’s (Information Security Forum) top threats for 2014

 

1. BYOD usage in the workplace

This is likely to be a much more serious threat than most managers are aware. The threats that BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) usage in the workplace poses includes device mismanagement, external manipulation and the use of undependable applications. Threats come from both internal and external sources.

2. Cloud storage and data privacy

Practically every business uses cloud storage in some form or another whether it’s Google Drive or Yahoo! Mail. Any business that stores important information, especially information about their client base, must ensure that adequate security measures are in place to ensure data privacy.

3. Damage to business reputation

This isn’t really a threat to SMEs but more so MNCs and large business organisations.

4. Cybercrime

The term cybercrime is broad and includes, amongst other things, criminal activities and what’s known as ‘hacktivism’; attacks by online activists. As with the point above, the latter; hacktivism, shouldn’t affect SMEs so much but more so larger companies.

5. Privacy and regulation

Of the threats that privacy and regulation pose to business organisations, failing to adhere to regulations concerning Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can result in fines. Consequently, business organisations that process information about their clients must treat privacy as both a business risk and a compliance issue.

These are worrisome trends for many businesses, admittedly some trends more so than others, but it’s difficult to deny that most business organisations face a threat in some form or another, particularly the first on the list, ‘BYOD usage in the workplace’, as every employee these days in possession of a smartphone or tablet -just how well do you know your employees?

Don’t put your business organisation at risk – What to avoid in the workplace

There are many ways in which information security can pose a serious threat to the health of your business organisation, and although most of us associate information security with digital devices it’s important to note that information in any form, whether it’s in digital, paper or verbal form, can be misused.

A good example of this is businesses using a document scanning solution to digitalise their office. Whilst this is an excellent way to increase space and reduce reliance on paper, it isn’t enough to scan and digitally store the information; it must be securely shredded afterwards.

Here are a few more things to take note of in the workplace.

 

    • The need for encrypted wireless networks
    • The need for employees to change their passwords regularly
    • The need to avoid installing unauthorised applications
    • The need to avoid disabling security tools regardless of firewall restrictions
    • The need to avoid opening attachments from unrecognised senders

 

 

The risk that information security poses to businesses – particularly those which process personal information about their client base – isn’t to be underestimated. Take note of these tips to increase information security standards in your workplace.

 

June Marie Duffy is a freelance writer who has been representing Paper Escape, a company offering a range of tailor-made document scanning solutions and more in the UK.

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