It’s time we address the common misconception that using a cloud-based software solution is enough to keep a small business safe from rampant cyber threats.
Custom software is big business. Software vendors develop digital solutions specifically for niche verticals, from dental practices to dog kennels to accounting services. Small businesses use these products to manage their practice; handle scheduling, billing, and communication; support sales and marketing; and store critical data. A growing number of these solutions are cloud-based. There is undeniable data security in the cloud. Since data is stored remotely, not at the business’ physical location, users can rest assured that should something happen to their office or equipment, their data is secure.
However, custom software, cloud-based or otherwise, is not a substitute for network security best practices. Small business cyber crime is on the rise. In fact, almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack. Companies that must meet HIPAA compliance need to be especially vigilant. Cyber criminals target care services more frequently than any other industry, in part because these organizations have such valuable data to steal—private, personal information.
Small business owners are sometimes lured into a false sense of security by their custom software providers. Although custom software and cloud computing afford a host of benefits on their own they aren’t enough to protect your business from threats. In addition to misconceptions about network security, small business owners are often left wanting more from their software vendors in terms of support. Service varies depending on the provider, but small businesses usually require more personalized attention than a software company can offer. Here’s what your small business custom software vendor isn’t telling you.
- Small Business Custom Software Doesn’t Protect You from All Threats
Busy small business owners are relieved to learn that by purchasing quality software, they can check a lot of boxes, including data security in the cloud. They breathe a sigh of relief and believe the solution will address all their network security needs. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true.
Here’s an example. There is a common form of malware called keylogging in which cyber criminals infect your system with software that tracks your every keystroke. With the aid of technology, they sift through your behavior and sniff out useful data, such as login IDs, passwords, and financial information. Cloud computing doesn’t protect you from these attacks, or the myriad other ways determined hackers can infiltrate your network.
- Small Businesses Need to Protect “the Edges”
Companies of all sizes should take measures to protect critical data and thwart, or at least slow down, cyber criminals. This includes installing and regularly updating a firewall, installing and updating anti-virus and anti-malware software on all of your computers, protecting your public and business Wi-Fi networks, creating strong passwords, and educating your employees.
Many small businesses do not realize how rampant security threats are or how to fully protect against them. Government agencies and the military employ a multi-layer, defense-in-depth security strategy plan to preserve their critical data. They understand that determined hackers may find a way in no matter what they do, so they set up as many roadblocks as possible to slow them down and give hackers an opportunity to slip up and make their presence known.
Small businesses can emulate this strategy and devise their own multi-layer approach to network security. Cloud computing can be a vital part of the plan, but it also needs to involve other elements, like a firewall, intrusion protection system, VPNs for secure remote connectivity, and internet content filtering. Custom software providers simply do not provide this protection. It’s not their job to. But it is a small business owner’s job to understand the truth about his or her company’s digital safety.
- You Probably Need an Additional Data Backup Service
Your data is your business. Think about all the different components of your operation. Then think about how challenging it would be to recreate that information should something unexpected happen to it. You are storing billing data, payroll and tax records, customer and business credit card information, internal systems, website data such as source code, text and images, as well as social media assets. Is your custom software backing up all of these elements? Probably not!
Businesses need to analyze the data backup services their custom software partner is providing. If it isn’t handling every piece of business-critical data, an additional solution is required. (These tips for choosing a cloud backup provider can get you started.) Test the restore procedures regularly to make sure that if the time comes, they will be able to retrieve their information quickly.
Cloud-based custom software can be a sizeable investment. Certainly, it serves multiple purposes, and software providers are wise to promote those benefits as they sell their products; but they are not a substitute for IT services! Too many small businesses are lulled into a false sense of cyber security by their cloud-based custom software vendor.
How would your business withstand a cyber attack? Do you know where you stand with your cloud software security? Anderson Technologies, a St. Louis IT consulting company, can evaluate your cyber security and help you form a plan for preserving your data. To learn more, call 314.394.3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.