Small businesses offer some of the most dynamic and engaging working environments. There are always fires to put out and problems to address. These usually relate to operating or growing the business, leaving owners and employees little time and money to worry about other threats. Burglars, acts of God, and hackers won’t cut you any slack, so the only other option is to be prepared.
But what if every penny counts, and you don’t have the resources to spend on elaborate security measures? Here, we explore straightforward improvements you can make to your business’s physical & digital safety without breaking the bank!
SMBs that operate as brick-and-mortar stores or otherwise deal with physical customers have to account for their unpredictable behavior. Shoplifting is still a thing and eats into 2-3% of profits. While a full-blown CCTV setup might be overkill, alarm systems complete with security cameras and professional security firm support are available for as little as $20/month.
Depending on the area you operate in, you might also want to reinforce your store’s physical security. New floodlights in the courtyard will dissuade shady types from loitering, while shutters will keep windows and glass panes intact. It’s best to keep as little cash as possible on the premises. A sturdy safe is a worthwhile investment if that’s not an option.
Data is a highly-valued commodity, especially if your business operates primarily in the digital domain. Backing it up properly is a top priority. By that, we mean you need at least three up-to-date copies. One should be off-site so physical dangers like floods, power outages, etc., can’t affect it. You’ll also want to ensure one of the backups resides on media not connected to the internet in case of ransomware attacks.
Secure cloud storage is a cost-effective way of fulfilling your backup requirements. You can get terabytes of it for a low monthly fee, and all the files you store this way get high-grade encryption.
The best providers offer end-to-end encryption and aren’t aware of your files’ contents. Choosing the secure cloud means you don’t have to pay for or service physical servers. It also lets you easily set up different access levels and viewing permissions.
Natural disasters aren’t the only unforeseen circumstances that can befall you. Simply doing business may subject you to lawsuits alleging property damage, bodily harm, and other claims. Business liability insurance is preferable and far cheaper than having to settle disputes. Business owners’ policies (BOPs) are a popular investment since they combine property and liability insurance into one cheaper product.
You may have to diversify depending on your industry and the services you offer. Transport companies need commercial auto insurance while consulting firms benefit from errors & omissions coverage. Some states also mandate workers’ compensation and life insurance.
With so much already on their plate, SMB owners often fail to consider the need for a strong cybersecurity policy before it’s too late. A data breach or malicious insider attack can do as much or more harm than physical theft.
Products and hardware can be replaced. Customer trust is exceptionally hard to recover once a data breach exposes their personal and payment information. The average small business isn’t ready for a cyberattack. Unsurprisingly, 60% close their doors within six months of suffering one.
Such carelessness is even more irresponsible if you consider how inexpensive implementing a cybersecurity strategy is. It takes just a few hours to train employees on the basics. For example, the basics can include learning to avoid phishing scams and using unique and strong passwords for each account.
Unsecured connections are another rising problem due to the WFH shift that’s easy and cheap to deal with. Any employees who connect to company networks should do so through a virtual private network. The VPN shields even unreliable public Wi-Fi from prying eyes and security breaches through an encrypted tunnel that encompasses all incoming and outgoing traffic.
On the VPN comparison table that Reddit users created, you can find some good insights about specific providers. Most of them offer competitive rates for company-wide coverage. Investing in a VPN is a no-brainer if you have a remote workforce or simply want a dependable protective measure that covers all online activities.
Running a small business is challenging enough without having to worry about random real-world dangers and cybersecurity threats. Even a modest budget spent wisely is enough to shore up your defenses. Set one aside for the measures we mention above and sleep soundly knowing you have little to fear.