As a business owner, it’s highly likely that you’ve invested blood, sweat, tears, and probably a lot of money into establishing and growing your company over the years. We all hope that we never have to think about what would happen if the business was under attack, but the reality is that there are hazards and threats out there. It’s always better to be prepared than to hope you can react quickly if something untoward does happen. It’s not always possible to prevent issues, but having plans in place can reduce the risk and ensure you bounce back swiftly. Here are some top tips to help you make sure your business isn’t vulnerable to attack.
Cybercrime is one of the most potent threats to modern companies. According to the Wall Street Journal, the global cost of cybercrime is predicted to reach $2 trillion by the year 2019. Cybercrime is a growing problem for businesses, and one of the main issues is that many attacks go unnoticed. This form of crime is a lot more subtle than a burglary carried out on a physical entity, such as an office, and this makes it difficult to spot. Before you become aware that your system has been hacked, the damage may already have been done. If you read the news or listen to bulletins on the radio, you’ll probably have heard about attacks on big companies and organisations, but the reality is that every business, regardless of size or stature, is a target. Microsoft figures suggest that 1 in 5 small businesses have reported cyber attacks.
One of the best steps you can take as a company manager is training staff to be aware of potential warning flags, such as emails or social media links that look suspicious. It’s also important to encourage staff to challenge anything that doesn’t look quite right and to be confident enough to raise issues. Investing in the latest security software and having IT support to hand are also important. If you are hacked, try and restore order as quickly as possible and determine what has happened to try and prevent similar attacks in the future. You may need to check cached web pages and remove content if they have been tampered with or the information has been altered. If you don’t know how to do this, you can click here to follow a step by step guide. If you’ve been the victim of a series of attempted or successful attacks, it may be time to rethink your security strategy and get some professional advice.
No matter what kind of business you run, there’s a good chance that you own or rent premises that contain valuable equipment, machinery, materials or technology. Commercial properties are often lucrative targets for thieves, as many of the items they may discover in a warehouse, a studio or an office have a high ticket value. To protect the premises and your possessions, it’s wise to invest in security measures. If you own the building, you’ll need insurance to cover damage to the building, as well as its contents. If you rent, you’ll need contents insurance. Consider installing an alarm system and storing the most valuable items in a locked room or a safe. Combination locks are often better than traditional locks with keys, as they’re harder to crack.
If you have a large-scale business or there have been burglaries in the area, it may be worth looking into options like CCTV cameras or security guards. If you have somebody patrolling the premises or there are cameras fitted on the outside of the building, this is likely to put thieves off. CCTV cameras can also be beneficial because the footage can help police to track down offenders if there is an incident.
In business, reputation is everything and even a throwaway comment on social media can affect other people’s perception of your company. There are lots of different ways your reputation can be tainted in the modern world. People can leave negative reviews on the Internet, or they can make accusations, which quickly become public property. The last thing you want as a business owner is to read negative stories in the newspapers or see less than complimentary headlines on the TV. It is possible for companies to come back from PR nightmares, but getting a reputation for poor service, a lack of quality or providing faulty goods can be very costly.
To protect yourself from bad PR, it’s a good idea to monitor comments on your social media pages and to set up a feature that allows you to approve posts before they are published. It’s also wise to take the time to follow up reviews and discuss comments with users. Taking out insurance can also provide cover if professional mistakes are made and a client wants to make a claim. Try and manage situations in-house and seek professional advice if you don’t have PR experts on your team. Always try and turn a negative situation into a positive.
In days gone by, when you heard about a business being attacked, this usually meant an opportunistic thief breaking in and stealing wares. Today, although burglary remains a threat, there are lots of other potential issues for business owners to be wary of. Cybercrime is perhaps the most harmful threat facing modern companies and managers also have to be aware of physical theft and the risk of a damaged or tainted reputation. Ups and downs are inevitable in business, but there are preventative steps you can take to bolster security and keep your reputation intact. If you plan ahead, consult professionals and learn more about potential threats, you can reduce the risk of attack, and ensure that your company is ready to respond if the system is hacked, equipment is stolen, or there’s a negative headline in the local paper. It’s always beneficial for staff to receive training to enable them to spot potential warning signs and ensure they know how to act, and it’s important to adjust your strategy over the course of time in line with changing threats.