Small Business Security - A Post-Covid Reality

If there is anything that the past year and a half has taught us, it is that whether your company has 5 employees or 50,000, you have to be secure. This security can take many forms–physical, financial, virtual to name a few. And if your small business (mid- to large businesses aren’t exempt either) doesn’t have these securities in place, than you may be in for a world of hurt.

Physical security has been a problem for ages. People and companies have personnel, assets, and trade secrets that need to be protected, but now we are seeing a whole new kind of physical security requirement: Health. With the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen companies and institutions require different procedures before someone is allowed in their building or to go through certain offices/zones in the building. Those requirements may be anything from wearing a mask, having your temperature taken, filling out a health survey, keeping 6 feet apart, to even dressing in full PPE to just walk into the building. Some offices have taken to working from home so that people aren’t exposing themselves or others to Covid (more on this later). 

While the pandemic seems to have lessened for now in the U.S. with herd immunity and vaccines, some of these practices and concepts are here to stay. While the majority of the workforce is going back to work without masks on, the concept of protecting ourselves and each other will now forever be on our minds when we walk through the front door. Small businesses have to work extra hard to ensure the safety of their personnel, because they may not have the manpower to survive if one or two of their employees get sick. 

This leads right into the financial security issues that your company must be aware of. The whole world has changed the way they do things to keep up with Covid. From new marketing strategies to new products, everywhere you go there is a sign of Covid-19’s effect on the market. And while large franchises and chains have been able to keep up, many small businesses couldn’t change their business model to the same degree and they suffered from that. Finances have been hurt and there have been some tough times, but it seems that the economy is slowly returning back to normal (and booming in some markets!). There are still traces of the effects of Covid-19 that linger in America (such as short supply, long and delayed shipping, and trouble with anything that has a chip in it) that everyone has to deal with, but we are showing ourselves as resilient.

Virtual security is a new concept to many, but with work-from-home policies and hybrid working/learning, it is an absolute must! People are working from computers on their barely secure home networks or utilizing public guest networks to do their schoolwork. The virtual world is full of loopholes and backdoors that anyone with a little bit of tech knowledge can use to their advantage–but the worst threats don’t come from strangers! Some of the worst threats to a company network is bad technology practices in the workplace. This may be using the same password for every login, using a password that is extremely simple to guess, leaving your password on a sticky note on your computer or under your keyboard, and answering “How well do you know me?” quizzes on social media that ask the exact same questions as your Password Recovery system.

The world is full of changes after Covid-19 and it is time that we make the necessary changes to stay with the game. Your security, especially for that of small-businesses, is absolutely paramount. If you are of the mindset that your company is too small to need cameras or access control of some type, it is time for you to think again. Your networking systems need to be protected physically so that the wrong people don’t gain access to them and your people and assets need to be protected even more! The ability to use a camera to know who is at your front door or keep track of the events happening in your back lot is especially crucial for the times we’re living in. And being able to keep your door locked and monitoring the granted access of that door is also extremely helpful. It is up to you if you want to invest the money to get cameras that measure body temperature or if you want to get a true access control system throughout your building that requires PINs or cards to come in, but it is our suggestion that you put something in place to protect your company and it’s people.

Your finances and virtual security are vital to making sure your company continues to operate well. It makes sense to protect your assets from theft or damage, but your physical assets aren’t the only thing that makes you money. Whether you use a computer to make purchases, a laptop to do mobile work, a tablet to make presentations, or a mobile phone to quickly access company files, it is essential to make sure that all of them are secure. If you work from home, do more than just put a non-default password on your Wi-Fi. Be vigilant in protecting your information, especially if you use any device for both company and personal use. Use Password/Credential software that is designed to securely keep your passwords instead of just writing them down on a notebook kept in your top drawer. Make sure that your small business network isn’t using just any local retail store’s version of a router. Residential-grade routers are NOT recommended or suggested for any size business. If your company doesn’t have a way of backing up your company files or PCs, suggest that they begin doing that immediately. Constantly ask yourself the question: “What am I okay with losing if my PC crashes?” If the answer isn’t “everything” than you’ll need to have a disaster recovery plan in place. If you are using public networks to access company files, consider investing in a software VPN to keep your connection secure.

These are just some of the issues that you should be aware of and we’ve offered some general starter suggestions for keeping your systems secure. If you would like to discuss any of the ways that STG can keep you secure or have any questions regarding best practices, we’d be more than happy to have that conversation with you. With many places in the country opening back up, we want you to be healthy, safe, and secure! Take pride in your networks and computer systems because they are what will continue to shape the way your business runs. They can be your greatest asset or your biggest security threat.