Business owners have a lot on their plates. They’ve got to be a little bit of everything in a company’s startup stage. Then, once a business gets off the ground, they continue to oversee its day-to-day operations. Everything from human resources and marketing to IT and data security are ultimately an owner’s responsibility.
While owning a business comes with rewards, it’s definitely not without risks and worries. Companies and those who manage them now operate in an increasingly complex digital world. It’s full of rampant cybersecurity threats, changing regulations, and the standard risks that have existed for years. Consequently, organizations need technologies that can address complex risks and environments. Below are four tech tools that can give business owners peace of mind.
1. Governance, Risk, and Compliance Solutions
Governance, risk, and compliance combine three strategies into a single approach that manages security and risk. The approach is also known as GRC, and it looks at a company’s internal processes, business goals, and government regulations. Ethics, security and management control measures, and security guidelines also fall under the GRC umbrella.
For example, any business that accepts payments online or through point-of-sale machines deals with consumer privacy laws. Depending on the location and reach of an organization’s customer base, those laws may be extensive or overlap. They could include separate state or provincial regulations and federal or national laws from more than one country.
On top of these regulations, collecting and storing consumer data exposes a company to risks. That information could become exposed in a data breach, or an employee or vendor could misuse it. A GRC tool reveals where vulnerabilities like these exist in an organization. GRC solutions examine a company’s internal practices as a whole, showing how one department’s actions or inactions impact another.
More sophisticated than spreadsheets, GRC tools equip business owners with the data and perspective they need to close compliance gaps. GRC solutions help companies mitigate security risks, avoid regulatory fines, and improve interdepartmental collaboration and efficiency. Better yet, these tools adapt to changes in regulations and environments. As security threats, laws, and internal practices shift, so does a business owner’s visibility into what risks and standards exist.
2. Virtual Private Networks
Virtual private networks provide an extra layer of encryption when staff members connect to a company’s network. While using a VPN may be overkill when employees work onsite, these services may be essential for remote workers. Flexible work arrangements are a reality in many business environments, and experts expect the trend to have staying power.
McKinsey & Company reports that 35% of surveyed workers say they can work remotely full-time. Another 23% of employees say their employers allow them to work from home part-time. This can be anywhere from one day a week to four. Flexible work arrangements may help businesses hire and retain talent, but they raise some security concerns and risks.
Employees who work from remote locations aren’t using a company’s secured network. They’re on their home internet connection or even public Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, hotel, or library. These connections may not have the same security and monitoring tools that corporate networks do. It becomes easier for cybercriminals to access proprietary or sensitive company data. VPN services prevent that, ensuring a business’s network resources stay safe.
3. Email Encryption and Security Software
On average, an office worker gets 120 emails a day. Not all of those will demand a response, but a good chunk of them might. The emails that don’t could be sales reps fishing for a bite. Worse, those emails might be cybercriminals attempting to pull off a phishing attack. This could include attachments or links with malware that compromise an email address, device, or an entire network within seconds.
Most email clients provide some protection against spam and phishing attempts through filters. However, many of these emails still sneak through. Spoofed email addresses that use the names of employees, executives, and business owners are some of the trickiest. Cybercriminals can often get this information from company websites, public records or directories, or compromised payroll databases.
Employees see a name they recognize, think the email is legit, and click on the link or download the attachment. More advanced email software helps block or scan attachments and links. These solutions also place warnings on emails from spoofed or all external addresses. The software alerts staff members that an email may not be as safe as it looks. Advanced tools also encrypt messages employees send, protecting sensitive data or intellectual property.
4. Network Security Tools
Any business with a network needs a firewall and anti-malware software. These tools guard against network intrusions at the server and device levels. Whether a company has one server or an entire network operations center, any connected device is an opportunity for cybercriminals.
Firewalls and anti-malware tools that operate from a business’s network are better at mitigating online threats. The level of protection is standardized across all connected devices, meaning each computer gets the same defenses. Firewalls block suspicious applications that may launch attacks through network ports, regardless of which device an app is on.
Anti-malware tools scan each device, install security updates, and send reports that network admins can review. It’s a more centralized way to control what happens on computers and mobile devices that use a company’s network. Network security tools also let businesses divide Wi-Fi connections into secured and public access levels. Companies can restrict or block specific online activities and applications on both levels to limit cyberthreats.
Tech Tools That Will Let You Rest Easy
Business owners have enough to worry about. They don’t need a data breach, compliance violation, or cyberattack to add to their list. But in a digital world full of complications, it’s impossible to ignore the need to manage and mitigate these risks. Technologies such as GRC and network security solutions are essential tools that put up guardrails and ease owners’ anxieties. Technologies such as GRC and network security solutions like mobile device management seattle are essential tools that put up guardrails and ease owners’ anxieties.