5 Questions You Aren’t Asking About Your Small Business Security

by John Burke

3 min read

Reveal the gaps in your small business security strategy with these 5 simple questions.

Have you given much thought to your small business security strategy? Probably not.

And when it comes to security, the rapid rise of cloud technology and mobile devices means today’s entrepreneur has a lot more to think about than just locking the door at the end of the workday.

The fact is that most small to medium size businesses don’t have the budget or need for an expensive security system, or a chief security officer.  However, asking these five simple questions will provide direction if you don’t know where to start prioritizing your business security concerns.  Your answers will help in decision-making as they uncover the best areas to invest your security dollars.

What kind of security breach would be most embarrassing?

Your reputation with customers and in the business community is critical to building a successful business.  A security breach may undermine your hard work in establishing your business as a leader in your industry.

What would cause the most embarrassment to your business? To you personally? What about to your suppliers or customers?  Leaking of confidential data, images, or videos?  Make a list of three to five possibilities.

Don’t forget to consider how a security breach could negatively impact the reputation of the quality of your good or service. For example, if you make fire detectors and your warehouse burns down because your detectors don’t go off, that would be pretty embarrassing, and financially damaging.

What kind of security breach could cause the most damage?

While there is little question that a security breach of any kind is bad news for small businesses, some may be more damaging than others. For information-dependent businesses that serve individual clients and businesses, such as financial planning offices, or law practices,  unauthorized access to confidential client information either by a third-party or staff member could have far-reaching legal and financial implications.  However, small businesses that sell goods, like a corner store or a jewelry store could be potentially more damaged financially by a break-in or employee theft.

Make a list of three to five possible scenarios that could critically cripple your business financially.

What are your most valuable business assets?

Your business assets include any and all assets both tangible and intangible that you need to carry out your business. For example, you can’t sell coffee and muffins from a coffee shop without premises, food cart business relies on the vehicle, and a surgeon relies on his hands.

Jot down a brief list of which assets are mission-critical.

Which regulatory compliance security requirements govern your business?

Is your business governed by a professional body? In addition to federal or provincial laws of privacy and security of information, certain small businesses must also follow professional and ethical standards for their industry or profession, and that includes security standards. If you don’t know exactly what your business obligations are regarding security, now is a good time to read the fine print in your industry or professional guidelines.

How is your business protected against security breaches?

This is a question that may stump even the most experienced small business owner.  The good news is that you likely already have some security features in place.

For example, fire detectors and alarm systems protect against fire damage and intruders. Property and contents insurance provide financial protection in case of damage or loss of business equipment and supplies.  Virus protection software and authentication procedures protect against data contamination and unauthorized access.

Make a list of what you have, and compare it against your answers to the first four questions.  Are you protected against the most embarrassing and damaging small business security breaches? Are your most valuable business assets protected? And are you in compliance with all federal and regulatory security requirements?

If not, it’s time to get take action and work on your small business security plan.

 

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