Cybersecurity for Small Business

Cybersecurity wasn’t at the top of my list of things to worry about. I was pretty certain this was a topic for governments, big business and financial institutions; that was until Steve Wilson of Hexigent Consulting spoke at our June Business Breakfast.

Steve, an expert in digital forensics, cyber security, economic crime and risk mitigation solutions, helps a variety of businesses recover from a cybercrime or better yet, prevent it from happening in the first place. Before his session, he told me that 60% of small businesses don’t survive a cybersecurity incident past 6 months and everyone is a potential target. Not only is your business at risk, so is your reputation. That’s pretty sobering information!

So, as an individual and/or small business owner, what can you do to protect yourself and your business? Here is some advice:

  • It is your responsibility to learn how to use your devices and protect the information on them. You can be comprising yourself if you aren’t using your device properly.
  • It is much more cost effective to deal with security up front than dealing with an issue.
  • Identify the information that is important to you and ensure you have a plan to keep it safe.
  • Back-ups are vital but have you checked to make sure you can access the information on your back up system?
  • Are you encrypting your information? You should be.
  • Establish policies for employees regarding the use of personal devices for work. If they no longer work for your business, are they taking client information with them?
  • Not only do your devices collect info, so too do your appliances (fridges, doorbells and lightbulbs are just some of the household tools that use computer technology). Think about the information that they collect and how you should protect yourself from a breach.
  • Don’t use the same password for all your devices – and make sure they are longer than 8 characters.

These are just some of the highlights from the presentation. The message that resonated for me was just get started. There are lots of little things you can do to ensure your information and devices are safe. You first step can be tuning into the Microsoft webinar Cybersecurity for Your Business that features Steve Wilson.

Be safe out there!

Written by Alison Kirkland, Director, Communications and Client Services, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba