Big businesses or government-run businesses are often thought of as the prime target of cybercrime, as they hold the data of millions of customers. However, small businesses are tempting targets too.

For criminals searching for bank details or a new identity, poorly protected small businesses can be a goldmine. At least one in four small businesses has reported a security breach.

Thankfully, there are plenty of simple actions that you can take to defend against becoming a victim.

Protect your website

It is important to start by protecting your website, especially if you are an online business selling regularly.

Make sure that your payment system is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. The PCI Standards Council works with businesses to ensure their website’s safety, helping make any improvements needed.

Their certification will also help build your credibility among customers. For the same solid reasons, it is also important to purchase and constantly renew an SSL Certificate.

Having this installed on your web server will guarantee that payments, logins and transactions can be performed safely and securely on your site.

Increase data security

Virtualization allows a company to install business or office systems on dedicated servers to increase data security. There are two main options: application virtualization and desktop virtualization.

Virtualization application allows applications to be available as a service and eliminates technical constraints of deployment.

Both the application and user data are hosted in secure data centres, increasing security levels. Users can thus securely access applications from anywhere and anytime.

Desktop virtualization enables the virtualization of the desktop operating system, allowing access to the desktop from other computers.

This makes it easier for employees to use their desktop via remote access, all-the-while keeping a secure connection.

The infrastructure is hosted in secure datacentres, thus increasing data security significantly when users virtually access their desktop.

Encrypt data transferred through networks

Another important step is to ensure that your business uses data encryption.

This makes it more difficult for hackers to access sensitive information by ensuring that such details remain private.

It will help filter out threats by users attempting to interact and communicate with your system or data.

Identity and access management

Businesses today need to protect their data and infrastructure from getting into the wrong hands.

One of the best ways to do this is through identity management of personnel, including employees, partners and service providers.

Through an authentication and identity management system, a business can manage rights for all personnel according to their role in the company.

It can also build digital identities for all relevant people to create an organized mechanism that improves internal security.

A centralized system simplifies the management of identity and access significantly, while also reducing the risk of human error.

Update software

Beyond these technical innovations which are crucial for your site, there are several steps which you should look to introduce in the workplace in order to protect your business.

For a start, make sure that all your computers are installed with the very latest security software.

 Choose to update it automatically to avoid any unintended lapses. Less crucial but also significant is to use the latest browsers.

Not only are they more efficient, but typically safer too.

Firewall protection

All of your computers should be using firewall protection. If your workplace uses its own Wi-Fi network, then make sure that it is secure, encrypted and even hidden.

This can be done easily by using a Service Set Identifier (SSI) which means that the name of your network will not be broadcast, thereby eliminating the temptation for those with bad intentions to use your network to find classified information within.

Train employees in safety measures

All of these good practice tips should be shared with employees who must be trained to implement them properly.

This is particularly important when it comes to mobile devices. Most malware is now unintentionally downloaded on smart phones and the result can be that all data stored on your phone is unwittingly shared or stolen.

To guard against this, security apps should be installed, encryption data used and passwords enabled on all mobile devices.