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Preparing Your Small Business For A Disaster

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Disaster Recovery Plan|Preparing Your Small Business For A DisasterSmall business owners wear many hats. They are marketers, IT specialists, inventors, accountants, security experts, website designers, human resources, and much more. There are so many different things to think about every single day, so it is little wonder that occasionally, something gets overlooked. For many businesses, that is a plan for what you would do to get your business back up and running after a disaster strikes. Almost three-quarters of small business owners do not have a written disaster recovery plan. While it is something that you hope you never have to use, having one in place is imperative.

Depending on where your business is based, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and fires are just some of the things that pose a risk to your company and your livelihood. Here, we look at some of the things that you can do to mitigate the risk, and if the worst should happen, what you can do to get back on your feet as soon as safely possible.

Before a disaster strikes

Identify responsibilities

Every person within your company has a role to play and responsibilities to handle, but often these can become blurred. It is important to note down in your disaster plan and make sure every person is aware of their responsibilities, and should there be a disaster, they know what they need to do.

Back up documents

The last thing that you want to do when your premises have been damaged or destroyed, or if conditions have made it unsafe to travel is to have to worry about finding out important documents. It is essential that you have at least one copy of all your relevant documents – insurance details, inventories, employee details, etc. Store these somewhere secure, and that is easily accessible.

Install security cameras

These might be damaged in the event of a disaster, but they are still worth having in to see what happened. They may be useful if you have to claim on your insurance as well.

Have secondary power sources available

Sometimes, the whole premises might not be damaged or destroyed, but the electrics blow or a storm knocks out your power. Give yourself a chance of trading, or at least make sure anything that relies on electricity such as fridges, freezers, tanks for animals etc. are kept running and protect your stock by having a secondary source of power available, such as industrial engines and generators.

Inventory

For both stick purposes and insurance purposes, an inventory is essential. Where possible, keep receipts and invoices as you may be asked to hand these to insurance companies as proof of costs, but having an up to date inventory of stock, machinery, and equipment is useful.

When a disaster strikes

Inform your employees

One of the first things that you need to do is inform any employees who might be due to work that day so that they know exactly what to expect. It is important to have a contact list accessible at all times. You also need to have a contingency plan fr paying your staff – it is vital that you try to keep paying staff as normally as possible, as you may find that you do not have a workforce when you are back up and running.

Work remotely

You may need to work remotely for a while, as may your staff. Ensure that you have access to the technology and tools you need – this is where cloud services are a good idea, as you and your team can access any documents required to continue working from anywhere in the world. Ensure that any confidential information is encrypted to prevent any hacks in the transfer of information – the last thing you want to be dealing with at this point is a huge data breach!

Let your customers know

Your customers keep your business going, so it is imperative to let them know what is going on as soon as possible. Pop a note on the door if it is safe or appropriate to do so, informing them of the situation and when you expect to be open again, as well as any contact details. Put a note on your website and a post out on your social media platforms.

Talk to lenders

If you have any loans or finance on anything, talk to your lenders and creditors. In a situation such as this, many will be willing to work with you to give you a payment holiday and catch up when things are back to normal, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get!

You can’t stop a disaster from happening, but the steps you take to prepare for one and how you deal with it afterwards can make the situation a little less stressful and get you back up and running as soon as possible.

5 Ways to Improve Your Cloud Security Standards

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article|cloud security standards|5 Ways to Improve Your Cloud Security StandardsCurrently, roughly 90% of companies in the United States use some kind of cloud service. While the cloud computing industry may be worth more than $100 billion as of 2020, it’s still yet to reach it peak.

Just about any type of business can benefit from cloud services when it comes to their critical business processes. Cloud computing presents great advancements in efficiency and supportability.But does this shift in technology guarantee your company foolproof cloud security standards? The good news is that the top public cloud service providers offer a highly secure environment for your sensitive business data.

But while cloud service providers are generally reliable when it comes to data protection, they can’t guarantee protection when that data leaves the cloud to other systems.

In this friendly guide, we equip you with the information you need to know about cloud security policies, including cloud computing best practices. Keep reading to learn more.

Why Do Businesses Opt For the Cloud?

For many years after the internet entered the scene, organizations hosted their hardware in an office within the premise or hired space in data centers nearby. In the last decade, cloud computing has completely transformed that architecture. Companies no longer have to invest in hardware to securely store their data.

The rise of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) through cloud service providers means that companies can now entrust their data and systems to a third party. It’s a reliable alternative to hosting your website or storing your data in a physical location. Then cloud affords an organization more flexibility and can significantly cut costs.

How Do You Ensure Topnotch Cloud Security Standards?

As we mentioned earlier, transferring your data to the cloud does not make your information entirely immune to security breaches. But you can avert these breaches by adopting the best security practices. We discuss some of these practices below.

1. Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication

Stealing credentials is one of the top ways cyber criminals use to access your digital business data. That’s why you need to ditch the conventional username and password combination to access business accounts. This combination is often weak when it comes to protecting yourself from hackers.

Among the simplest and most effective cloud security controls is deploying multi-factor authentication. This authentication technique ensures that only authorized staff can access your sensitive data by logging in to your cloud applications. So reliable is this security measure that most security experts consider businesses that haven’t yet deployed it as negligent.

2. Manage User Access

While you want to maintain as much transparency as possible within your company, the fact is that not every employee needs to access every file or piece of information. That’s why you need to set up clear levels of authorization, so every employee only accesses data or application necessary for their job.

You want to avoid incidences of a member of staff accidentally editing data that they have no authority to access. Additionally, you want to protect your sensitive information from hackers who may have stolen the credentials of one of your employees.

3. Monitor User Activity Continuously

What if a hacker succeeds in stealing login credentials and can access your sensitive business data? Well, that’s where real-time monitoring comes in.

Through real-time monitoring, you can spot any irregularities that vary considerably from the normal usage patterns. These deviations include log in from previously unknown devices or IP addresses.

Once you notice an abnormal activity, you can promptly investigate it to determine whether there has been a breach of your system. In case there is, you can fix that security issue before it causes mayhem in your organization.

Besides monitoring user activity, it’s essential that you need to keep a record of instances that your employees have accessed business data and any changes they’ve made on it. This way, you can provide auditors with a report of people who have access to the data at any given time in case there’s a breach.

4. Develop a Secure Off-boarding Process for Outgoing Staff

When individuals depart from your company, you want to ensure they don’t leave with your trade secrets. Create a foolproof process of taking away access rights to outgoing employees so they can no longer access your business systems, client information, or intellectual property.

The off-boarding process may seem easy, but it isn’t. Keep in mind that a departing employee could have access to numerous cloud applications. Revoking access to each of these applications can prove time-consuming.

Have a systemized deprovisioning procedure to revoke all the access rights of departing employees. Some organizations opt for solutions that consolidate user credentials into a single identity that can be turned off for the company’s cloud applications at once.

Remember, you can always turn to an expert to help you with the off-boarding process if you can’t manage it internally.

5. Have a Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution

The risks associated with cloud platforms and applications are legitimate. You could lose your data anytime, especially as a result of human actions. For instance, an employee could accidentally delete data, or a hacker may intentionally clean it out.

Given the dire consequences of data loss or manipulation, companies need to have backup solutions. At the moment, numerous cloud-based backup solutions that can protect you. Consult a credible IT solutions provider like charlotteitsolutions.com to help you determine the best solution for you.

You Can Reduce Your Cloud Computing Security Risks

Generally, cloud computing is a highly beneficial option for businesses in the 21st century. However, companies that choose cloud services need to adhere to cloud security standards to get the most out of it. Fortunately, cloud computing best practices are reasonably easy to implement and follow.

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