Being the conductor of your team entails a significant responsibility, and it is the most challenging aspect of being a business owner. While you may have exceptionally talented artists on your team, lacking their respect or their failure to follow your lead can prevent you from achieving the perfect harmony on stage. The most effective leadership approach, in my opinion, is to lead by setting a positive example. Just as you guide your team in other facets of your business, you can similarly prioritize cybersecurity and set a precedent. In the second part of our small business cybersecurity series this week, I’ll provide some tips on precisely how to do that.
Before we dive into the tips, I’d like to emphasize another crucial point. As business owners, we often invest the most attention in our products, services, and clients, sometimes leaving the fundamentals neglected. Think of a conductor in the photograph above for a moment. He may have rehearsed tirelessly with his orchestra for weeks, and his passion is evident in his demeanor. Now, consider if he forgot to wear a reliable belt, causing his pants to suddenly drop to his knees during the performance. Can you visualize that scenario? Would such a performance result in a standing ovation or public embarrassment? It only takes one instance of those pants falling for everything to unravel. He would forever be remembered for that mishap, overshadowing his numerous remarkable performances. I believe you understand the parallel I’m drawing here. Neglecting any aspect of your business can be detrimental, especially if it has the potential to tarnish your reputation.
Now, let’s proceed to those tips, shall we?
PASSWORDS: Implementing a standard password policy is crucial to enhance security. Ask your team to use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Ensure that each account has a unique password and store them securely. Consider using a password manager for simplicity.
MFA: Speak with your IT team to enable and enforce multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Encourage your team to use app-based 2FA, which can be facilitated by a good password manager as well.
PATCH & UPDATE: Regularly check for software updates on all devices at least once a week. Apply software patches promptly to address any vulnerabilities.
HAVE BACKUPS: Backup everything! Documents, emails, calendars, contacts, CRM data, everything that your business would hurt if it was lost should be backed up. Whether it’s you or your IT that handles the backups, test restoring at least annually.
TRAIN YOUR TEAM: Train your employees in cybersecurity best practices. They should be able to identify phishing attempts, create strong passwords, and understand their role in maintaining security.
LIMIT ACCESS: Limit employee access to data and systems based on their roles and responsibilities. Implement the principle of least privilege (employees have access only to what they need to do their jobs). The more accounts that have access to sensitive data, the more targets are on your back.
USE STRONG PROTECTION: Avoid relying on free antivirus software from your ISP. Invest in cybersecurity protection suites from reputable providers who regularly update their products to stay ahead of threats.
MANAGE REMOTE WORK: If your business offers remote work options, ensure secure remote connections and provide proper protection for team members’ personal devices.
HAVE A PLAN: Develop an incident response plan outlining actions to take in case of a cybersecurity breach. This helps minimize damage and downtime.
GET INSURED: Consider purchasing cybersecurity insurance to mitigate the financial impact of a data breach.
Lead your team with these topics during meetings and gradually implement them. You don’t need to do everything at once. Start with one item from this list now, and then gradually add more. By taking these steps, you’ll strengthen your company’s security and reputation.
Have a breach-less day ahead,
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead
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