Many casual computer and smartphone users are quite familiar with cloud-based technology. Cloud technology allows users to access anything from photos to music seamlessly. However, casual computer users aren’t the only ones making use of cloud-based technology; many small business owners also use this invaluable software. The average company uses dozens of cloud-based apps and programs.
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Cloud-based technology allows business owners and employees to:
- Collaborate on projects remotely
- Share files
- Share content
Aside from being beneficial, cloud-based technology also reduces the need for physical files, helping companies save a pretty penny on office supplies. However, even though cloud-based technology is undoubtedly advantageous for many businesses, there is an overarching question that needs to be addressed: are the programs running on the cloud platforms safe to use? For the most part, yes, they are.
Most cloud computing companies work around the clock to protect their users from hackers and cybercriminals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that your protection is guaranteed. For example, there have been reported cases of hackers being able to intercept data as it required to be moved from one cloud environment to another out of various operational reasons. When this happens, a cyber-attacker is granted access to the sensitive data that was intercepted. This is just one way that hackers can obtain data via the programs running on cloud computing platforms.
Getting targeted by a cybercriminal can severely impact a small business, especially if it’s in its early stages of development. Getting your data intercepted or compromised can jeopardize several aspects of your business, some examples being:
- Employee information
- Customer information
- Financial data
Furthermore, failing to proactively address a cybersecurity issue can lead to severe consequences, some of which include:
- Tarnished reputation
- Loss of potential customers
- Loss of sales
If you want to ensure that you and your team are protected from hackers, be sure to make use of the cloud computing security tips listed below.
Avoid Phishing Schemes
Phishing schemes are the bane of many small business owners’ existence. For those that aren’t familiar, a phishing scheme is a process in which a hacker attempts to obtain an employee or business owner’s credentials via phone or email. Once the hacker has received the correct credentials, they can access all of the data that is stored on a device or program.
If you wish to avoid phishing schemes and other similar threats, the first thing you should do is require your team to download one of the top antivirus programs on the market. Although there are several cybersecurity programs that you can choose from, if you want top-notch protection from phishing schemes and other cyber-attacks, then you should consider Malwarebytes antivirus for Windows. For those that aren’t familiar, Malwarebytes is a respected cybersecurity company that offers a wide variety of antivirus programs for casual users and business owners. One of their most popular cybersecurity solutions for small businesses is a program called Malwarebytes Nebula. Malwarebytes Nebula is a cloud-based antivirus program that can protect several employees from cyber threats simultaneously.
This can potentially prevent a costly mistake from occurring down the line. Furthermore, Malwarebytes Nebula can safeguard your team from dangerous malicious software (malware). You may be asking yourself, “what is malware?”. In short, malware is a type of harmful software that’s used to obtain data via your device’s software.
Malwarebytes Nebula uses heuristic technology to safeguard your team’s devices from both standards and obfuscated malware. This means that your team can use Malwarebytes Nebula to target and deal with minor and established issues.
If you have a Wi-Fi network, it’s important to make sure it is secure, encrypted and hidden. With all of this in mind, it’s easy to see that not downloading an antivirus program is one of the biggest cybersecurity mistakes a small business owner can make.
Require Multi-Factor Authentication
Most modern computers and smartphones allow users to set up multi-factor authentication (MFA) features.
MFA software requires the user to present multiple forms of identification before accessing the device or a specific program. Some common examples of these forms of identification include:
- Knowledge (number combination, password, etc.)
- Possession (ID card, barcode, etc.)
- Biometric or inherent feature (fingerprint, voice recognition, etc.)
Requiring your employees to download MFA software can make it exceedingly difficult for cyber-attackers to infiltrate your employees’ devices, let alone access the data stored on your cloud-based programs.
Give Your Employees Limited Access to Important Data
Even if you only deal with a handful of clients, you should consider implementing the following recommendation. Not every employee needs access to all of your business’ information. Employees should only have access to cloud-based programs or files that pertain to their clients or assignments.
For example, if one of your new employees is assigned to clients A and B, you don’t need to give them access to additional clients’ information. Giving your employees too much power can lead to avoidable mistakes and potentially make it easier for rogue employees to steal data (more on that below).
Create an Off-Boarding Process
Many small business owners make a substantial effort to provide their employees with fair wages and professional working environments. Despite this, some employees will feel disgruntled after leaving a position. If a disgruntled employee still has access to your business’ cloud-based programs, they can use their power to potentially steal data.
This is why small business owners should take the time to create an off-boarding process for their departing or former employees. Taking the time to do this will prevent former employees from accessing critical data and potentially prevent several issues, ranging from blackmail to fraud. Although setting up an off-boarding process may seem like an intimidating challenge, it’s simpler than you’d think. If you need help setting up an off-boarding process for your small business, feel free to reference this in-depth guide. Even though many small business owners see the importance of cloud-based technology, they often fail to overlook the importance of cloud-based cybersecurity.
If you’d like to keep your data safe, you should consider downloading an antivirus program, using MFA software, and giving your employees limited access to information. You should also take the time to set up an off-boarding process. Doing this will help you stay a step ahead of hackers and cybercriminals.