4 free ways to do corporate security (even if you’re one of the small guys)

In the old days, corporate security could be summed up in a few steps: you bought insurance, maybe a security camera, and locked up the valuable when you went home for the evening.

Now that business has gone digital, that doesn’t quite cut it anymore.

Unfortunately, corporate security isn’t something people like to spend time thinking about.

We get it. Pondering over the worst case scenarios isn’t fun for anybody.

And as a small business owner, you don’t necessarily have the means to hire full time employees—let alone one dedicated just to security.

Whether you’re running your business solo or have a small team, security cannot be overlooked. Simply doing nothing and simply trusting that you or your employees won’t harm your company is a risk. According to the Harvard Business Review, 60% of security breaches come from inside the company, often times unintentionally.

What you can do to protect your company

We know you’re strapped for time, and don’t want to expend valuable resources on something that isn’t your core business. That’s why we put together a list of tools that we love, many of them free, that will help your business stay safe.

1. Always be updating

One of the most common ways bad guys can attack your business is by exploiting known holes in your software—especially popular tools found on nearly all machines, like Adobe Flash.

These holes can be exploited simply by you clicking on a link to a site, which can then install malware on your computer.

And after that, the malware can steal your company’s data, launch other attacks, and harm your reputation and business.

The most important piece of software to update is your operating system. If it gets hacked, look out—intruders can then access all of your apps on your system.

What you should do: most operating systems allow you to let software auto-update, and when patches are available, they will download and install automatically.

If you have a Mac, allowing auto-updates is as simple as going into the App Store’s preference…

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And selecting all of the boxes to auto-update both the apps and the operating system.

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2. Filter dangerous content

One of the most common ways for bad guys to exploit software is through phishing—you or one of your employees clicks on a link in an email, or on Twitter, or anywhere online, and suddenly there’s malware beyond your firewall.

And this probably won’t happen with malicious intent—it will simply be an email from a hacked account that doesn’t seem harmful.

So how do you prevent this?

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(Source)

Simple. Use a content filtering tool that doesn’t let employees go to dangerous sites. For small businesses, we really like OpenDNS. It blocks users of your network from getting on sites that might be phishing, and prevents human error that could otherwise be very expensive.

3. Protect your mobile devices

It’s 2016, which means more likely than not, you’re doing some of your business via a smartphone or a tablet. And while that helps your business be more efficient, it also exposes you to new risks.

It means you’re accessing your company’s data on lots of different wifi networks—some of which may be public.

And if you’re doing business on a shared device, like an iPad that someone else in your family may use, you’re also exposing your business to anything they do on the device. If someone jailbreaks the iPad, or downloads an unapproved app, your company could be at risk.

That’s why it’s so important to get mobile security.

We like Lookout Security, which is a free app for your devices that guards against all the usual bad looks—malware, phishing, and adware. They also offer a business product if you want to pay to protect employee devices, but their personal app is free, making it ideal if you’re the only one at your business.

4. Bring your IT into the 21st century

If you’re big enough to have your own IT department, it’ll be no surprise to you that people dislike dealing with IT.

We get that. It’s lame to put in support tickets and wait around while your computer is on the fritz.

But people’s dislike of IT leads them to do dangerous things: after all, when your computer is running slow, or something doesn’t seem right, you’re going to poke around the internet looking for a solution.

And unfortunately those solutions can be full of malware that hurts your business.

That’s why a cloud-based IT tool like FastMac is so valuable.

It lets employers look at their employees machines remotely—seeing what software is on there, what needs to get patched, and what is causing employee machines to run slowly.

This means there are no pesky visits from the IT guy, and your company machines won’t unwittingly turn into malware dispensers.

Plus, if your company is too small to have a dedicated IT staff, this service gives you one for just $9 a month.

Wrapping Up

All of these tools can be up and running on your entire network in less than an hour—and in that time, your business will be much, much more secure. So what are you waiting for?