If your small business' computer system is lacking in proper protection, or you're concerned about the vulnerability of your company's financial accounts, now's the time to beef up your security plan: Hackers are targeting small businesses more and more because they're equipped with weaker business security systems -- frankly, small business computer systems are easy targets, and they carry enough financial bounty to make hacking worthwhile.
How can you put into place a proper business security system? Start with your passwords. Sometimes, it's the only thing you'll need to do to deter hackers from making attempts on your system.
There are challenges, however, to the handling your business' many passwords. The Washington Post breaks it down:
"...the biggest problem with passwords is that there are far too many of them. Think about the things in your life that are now password protected: Work-related files, mobile phones, home computers, tablets, bank cards and online banking sites, social networks -- the list goes on."
So how do you set up a strong password security system?
Step 1: Setting Your Passwords The first, and perhaps most obvious, way to guard against password theft or fraud is to use a complicated password. This means avoiding words you can find in the dictionary, and keep from using any personal information within your password. With so much of our lives exposed online, it's easy to find personally identifiable information, such as birthdates, anniversaries, street addresses, and kids' or pets' names -- details that are often used in passwords.
There are plenty of ways to select passwords that no one could "guess." For example, think of a sentence you can easily remember and use the first letter of each word to make up the password. So, for example, if the sentence is "The Cubs last won the World Series in 1908," your password would be "TClwtWSi1908."
Step 2: Managing Your Passwords You also shouldn't use one password for every account you use. Keep track of these various passwords with an online password management software. It's essentially an online repository that tracks and organizes your various passwords that you use for many sites or servers. Depending on the software, you may even be able to utilize it to log into accounts without having to type your username and password. All you have to do is remember the main master password to get into that database, and all of your account login information is categorized for easy access.
Step 3: Sharing Your Passwords When you set up a password security system, be diligent about who you share passwords with internally in your business. You may want only one trustworthy employee to have access to the password management software in case you ever need a second person to access these important accounts. Or, you may even take it a step further by trusting your legal counsel with this confidential information. Step 4: Protecting Your Passwords If you feel your small business is vulnerable to hacking, take any step possible to safeguard your information while you stop for a more robust business security system. Everything you can do to make it that much more difficult for an outside to gain access to your information will help you stay off the target list down the line.
In addition, reconsider the kind of account confirmation questions you utilize as a backup for retrieving lost passwords. A common one is, "What is your mother's maiden name?" or "What is the mascot of your high school?" This information can be easily found online, so be sure to select a question that is highly personal, such as the name of your favorite teacher, or who your best friend was in grade school.
Learn more about protecting your -- and your customers' data -- at Business.com.