A lot that goes into a company covering all of its security-related bases.
It does not matter how successful a business is if that business is unable to protect its income. Protecting income is a component of security that seems obvious but actually requires a fair amount of planning and strategy.
As Stephen Morse writes for The Hartford’s Small Business Ahead, the very first step is recognizing where potential threats to your income lie: “Think carefully about the type of business you have, the location, your leadership team and the key factors critical to your business’ operations. Brick-and-mortar businesses will face some different threats than online businesses, for example.”
After you have recognized the specific risks connected to your business, you can then take the appropriate steps to combat those risks.
When creating a risk management strategy, you should:
Buy the right insurance. If you have any employees, it’s the law that you also have certain types of insurance. Insurance is the first and most powerful line of defense in case something goes wrong. Even if nothing goes wrong, insurance grants credibility to your organization, and for some contracts it may be required.
Act wisely. If something goes wrong, your personal reputation and the reputation of your company as a whole will likely matter. Those who are attempting to profit by pressing some sort of legal charge will have an easier time succeeding if history supports the notion that your organization is not trustworthy.
Consider which business entity is best. If your business comes under fire, the entity your business operates as will have a serious impact on which assets are at risk. If your business is a sole proprietorship, personal belongings may be at risk. Corporations and limited liability companies are entities better prepared for the risk of lawsuits.
Every decision you make should take into account how you can safeguard your business’s income in case the worst transpires.
An integral part of any business is the people who work there. Their protection includes everything from their personal information to their physical well-being. The organization that does this well not only will foster positive relationships with employees but also safeguard itself from issues such as ransomware.
Know the rights of employees. The surest way to get into trouble in relation to personnel is by not understanding what their rights are and failing to uphold those rights. As a business leader it is your responsibility to know and understand employee rights. Not only that, every member of management should also be required to understand the rights of employees.
Learn industry specifics. In many cases, specific industries have additional rules that govern how employers are to treat employees. It’s vital that an organization understands not just overarching laws, but also those that are pertinent to them alone.
Educate your employees. Protecting them means ensuring that they are aware of not only of their rights, but of anything that is connected to their job and required for their success. Business owners are responsible for ensuring that they have easy access to the education needed to do their jobs well.
Protecting data is perhaps one of the areas organizations currently struggle with the most. In many ways, safeguarding digital data is the challenge that separates the modern era of security from those that came before. This is an issue that requires educated parties to implement smart procedures. Doing so is vital to ensure that information that contributes the the business's financial health doesn’t take a hit.
The smaller a business is, the more important this is, in many ways. There are a long list of major companies that have experienced data breaches, paid millions, and continued to do business because they could sustain the economic blow. Not only that, hackers understand that while small or medium-sized companies have significantly more data than individuals, they do not have the security of larger organizations.
Unlike a larger organization that can absorb the blow, for many small businesses a data breach means they must call it quits. Thus, an organization must make the most of every available tool to ensure that they do not fall victim to data breaches.
Know common hacking methods. It is going to be much easier to be taken advantage of and blindsided if you are not familiar with the ways that hackers generally achieve their goals. So keep yourself and management familiar with the most likely ways that hackers could take advantage of your organization.
Educate employees. One individual cannot single-handedly safeguard the data of an organization, so it’s important that personnel have all of the tools necessary to ensure that they can recognize suspicious activity and respond appropriately. If IT is the only entity that recognizes potential risks, that in and of itself is a risk factor.
Have a security policy in place. Your security policy should be a crucial component of your business plan. Every place you conduct any portion of your business should have a correlating security procedure.
So, if you have social media profiles, you should also have policies for secure social media usage that touch on everything from phishing to malicious apps. If you utilize digital documents, you need to ensure that you’re taking advantage of measures like e-signatures, which provide an extra measure of security.
Keep everything up to date. This is as straightforward as it sounds. Be proactive about installing software updates, using a firewall and secure Wi-Fi networks, monitoring your systems. Every computer used by and for your business should have anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware software. Using antiquated systems opens the door for would-be cybercriminals.
Ultimately, there is a lot that goes into ensuring that a company is adequately covering all of its security-related bases. It can even seem overwhelming when you consider all of the ways that an organization can fail to safeguard the people, resources, and assets that, together, create its success.
However, the energy that is required to do just that will not be used in vain. Instead, it is absolutely an essential part of keeping a company secure. For the fortunate among us, these efforts will prove to be unnecessary. But, for those whom they become especially relevant, they’ll also likely become an essential key to keeping a company thriving, no matter what hazards come into play.
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.