Top 5 IT Security Tips for Small Businesses in Seattle

It’s time to focus on IT security.

Seattle may not be Silicon Valley, but our area has held its own in the tech industry for decades. Seattle businesses know tech – and we’re all used to having access to some of the best tech tools and products on the market.

But are our tech tools secure? These days, that’s an important question all small business owners should ask.

Since computers aren’t leaving our offices any time soon and since IT security is a growing concern, let’s take a moment to discuss cybersecurity for small businesses. These 5 top tips go beyond the standard “antivirus, firewall, backups” advice you’re used to and help your company stay secure no matter what.

  1. Protect Your Passwords

No matter what you’re using a password for, always choose a unique, hard-to-memorize string of uppercase and lowercase letters, along with numbers and symbols. The more random, the better. This, for example, would be a good password: >kG5+B^)[email protected]:X.

We highly recommend using a password manager to store all those impossible passwords (we love Dashlane and LastPass, but you have many options), and we also recommend using two-factor authentication whenever possible.

  1. Train Your Employees

You can’t assume that employees come into your company knowing how to spot a phishing email, use a VPN, secure their devices for traveling (turn off Bluetooth and WiFi auto-connect), or choose good passwords. Teach them how to do these things and you’ll be rewarded by always having multiple experts looking out for your business’s IT security.

  1. Limit Access to Your Systems

Obviously, you’re only letting authorized users onto your office network and computers, but also make sure that no single employee has access to absolutely every nook and cranny of your system. Also, ensure that employees only have access to what they need to do their jobs by applying role-based or privileged access limitations.

If one of your employee accounts is hacked, you’ll appreciate that you took the time to block cybercriminals from stealing all your data.

  1. Monitor Devices on Your Network

These days, employees bring their smartphones, smartwatches, FitBits, internet-connected doorbells and teakettles, nanny cams, and all sorts of other smart (IoT) devices into work. Then they connect these things to your network (ouch).

Unfortunately, the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t known for its incredible security practices, so it’s up to you to identify and lock down the items that can connect to your business networks, systems, and data.

  1. Prepare for the Worst (But Hope for the Best)

You know about backups (and hopefully perform them regularly), but restoring your data from a tape or disk backup is sloooow and can leave your company inoperative for days. Business continuity systems paired with a clear disaster recovery plan can get your company back up and running in as little as 5 minutes after a cyberattack – which is pretty awesome. (Also, check-out our nifty recovery time calculator to learn how much downtime might cost your business, and your custom recovery time objectives!)

Bonus IT Security Tip: Keep Watch on Your Systems 24/7

It’s expensive to live and work in Seattle and most small businesses can’t afford to hire an in-house IT team that monitors their systems and networks around the clock. However, since cybercriminals do work around the clock, it’s a smart idea to keep an eye on your IT security.

The best way to ensure day and night cybersecurity at your company is to work with a Seattle outsourced IT company, also known as a Managed Services Provider (MSP), that will monitor and protect your networks all the time, with no extra effort on your part.

And we know just the MSP to recommend…

Interplay has been helping Seattle’s SMBs securely protect their data, both online and offline, since 2001. In addition to providing remote monitoring and IT management services, Interplay offers hands-on IT support from friendly techs right here in Seattle and can help your company implement business continuity and train your employees to spot phishing attacks. We can also help you monitor IoT on your network.

 

Contact Interplay to learn more about how we can help you improve your IT security. We’re always happy to help.