You know good and doggone well you need better security practices. Now you don’t need to go as far as to hire a bad-ass security firm that employs ex-con hackers that have been given a 2nd chance to wipe the slate clean by helping the little guy go up against super bad criminals (plot for every techie show for the past 10 years) to see if they can hack your blog, social media accounts, or online invoice service.
On the flip-side, it’s probably a good idea to take a serious look at your security strategy. You can even add it to your little “Vision board”. Here are some quick tips to get your small business security straight for the 0-1-5
If anything, the recent Sony Pictures hack should teach all of us that if a fake movie put together by college-humor kings could piss off an entire country of folks who don’t take too kindly of painting their leader in a bad light enough to hack into Sony of all places, they can crack your little “middle name spelled backwards” passwords. So you probably need to take your personal small business security a little more seriously in the ‘015
Close old not-in-use accounts
I know EVERYBODY wants you to create an account before you can start a free trial of a service you will probably never use. It’s a hassle to try and remember all those passwords, But here’s the thing: I bet you’ve used the same email/password for all those “I know I’m not gonna really use this” services. I’m even willing to bet that you’ve inadvertently used that same simple combination for a more important business account that you use on the regular.
So if you know you just wanted a free trial of that dope social media management service just to host that one Twitter Party, it’s probably best that you close it down (and request that your account be deleted) when the account is no longer in use. That way, hackers can’t crack your less used (and less-likely monitored) accounts to get into your more sensitive ones.
Use a Password Generator/Manager
While we’re talking about passwords, get out of the habit of trying to come up with several combinations of the same password for your accounts. Hell, get out of the habit of trying to come up with passwords altogether. Why? Because if you can think of it, so can hackers.
Your best bet is using a random password generator that can help you quickly crank out a more complex password consisting of at least 8 characters, comprised of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and those special characters that always seem to mess up your 80 words per minute #TypingFlow.
BrothaTech PSA: I going to reach through this computer and slap you if take those complex passwords you just created and put them in a spreadsheet saved on your desktop on a computer that you don’t even have a password on…
Take That, Take That, Take That…
As Mrs. Tech often says: “What You Need To Do Is…” use a Password Manager to store, secure and actively manage your now safer passwords. The benefits to using a password manager is that all of your passwords are more secure because the services encrypt your content so only you can access your passwords. Additionally, most of the services also offer random password generation so you can create and manage passwords in one spot.
Be warned, the password management services themselves don’t even know and can’t retrieve your master password and can’t decrypt your content either. So if you lose your master password…It’s a wrap. “The Gift and the Curse”
If you’re lazy
If you’re crazy enough to think you will never get hacked
If you don’t want to lose productivity in your busy day by managing passwords, then you need to set up 2-Factor Authentication. without getting too geeky, 2-Factor Authentication can ensure that no one can virtually hack your accounts without also having access to your smartphone, where a separate pin code is sent to REALLY verify who you are before you access your account.
The list of sites and services you already use to manage your entire small business that offer 2-Factor Authentication keeps growing. Since you never leave the house without your smartphone and it’s always within arm’s reach at all times, why not use it to better secure your livelihood, yo?
Secure Your Hardware
Speaking of things you never leave home without, you need to put a password on your mobile devices and frequently lock them when not in use, including your laptop.
This goes double for all those critical digital entrepreneurs who crack on folks with 9-5 jobs, but miss the environment of a 9-5 gig, so they pay extra money to operate out of a co-working spot (You know who you are) – The second you step away from your laptop to take a call in an open conference room, your so-called “co workers” could very easily hop on your computer and jot down some sensitive information. Or worse, decide your computer is more valuable than their one-day “I’m just testing out what it would be like to co-work” rate and take your computer altogether.
Side note: If the data on your computer/external Hard Drive is that important, you can also look into encrypting your Drives so that you need a separate password to access them as well. And while we are on side notes, depending on your industry, it might be a good idea to take advantage of blockchain for secure transactions in your business. HyperLedger development offers a fantastic package to support your venture into decentralized currencies.
Taking the time to implement any of these tips in 2015 could elevate your small business strategy and keep your data safer than, well… a newbish Sony marketing PowerPoint presentation done by a marketer who makes more money than I’ll ever make.
Take That, Take That, Take That