By Haley Whisennand Nova Point of Sale
Before technology became a core part of retail, security was fairly straight forward. Take the cash drawer out of the register and lock up your shop at night. Simple. However, now with the addition of security cameras, point of sale terminals, back office computers and more, keeping your business secure has become more complicated.
On October 16, the world learned about KRACK, the latest virtual security flaw that could be a massive threat to your company's security. KRACK—which is short for Key Reinstallation Attack—is a vulnerability in Wi-Fi encryption, leaving almost every wireless device susceptible to hacking via hijacked connections. It sounds complicated, but some sites have released "Explain Like I'm 5" articles breaking down the threat. While most major manufacturers have released either a patch or some plan of action, it's ultimately up to business owners to check their own electronics.
But learning about these threats, as well as which might impact your business and which probably won't, can be hard. So here are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your business' virtual presence secure.
The best way to keep up-to-date with the cyber security world is to regularly check trustworthy resources. StaySafeOnline is a blog from the National Cyber Security Alliance focusing on regular updates and news on how to keep your virtual presence safe. They even have a "Keep My Business Secure" section. Tech websites like ZDNet, WIRED, and TechCrunch are also great resources to learn about large technology threats right when they're discovered. Checking in on these sites somewhat regularly can help you stay ahead of the game.
If you’re having trouble finding time to check these websites on a regular basis, follow their social media accounts. That way important stories will be mixed in with the rest of your newsfeed, making it easy to stay informed while you’re skimming through Facebook or Twitter when you’ve got a few minutes to spare.
Keep Your Tech Updated
This one's a relative no-brainer. Updates are released regularly for just about any piece of technology you own. These are filled with software patches and bug fixes that keep your devices secure. Most updates will come with notes, so if you're really curious, you can see exactly what is being fixed. Microsoft, for example, has already released a new automatic update for Windows which includes a security fix for the KRACK attack threat. Installing that update can be as simple as restarting your computers, but could also save your business from a security breach.
Set up your computers or tablets so they will notify you when there’s a new update available. They’re released regularly, so installing them within a few days of their release is a good habit to get into. Installing one or two updates more often is a lot easier and requires a lot less downtime than bulk-installing all updates once every other week or once a month.
Train Employees Accordingly
Cyber security isn’t just about have the right programs installed and keeping them updated. There’s an element that human error can also play into the safety of your business. That might seem a little frightening at first, but with the right training and protocol in place, your business could be just a little bit safer than it was before.
Whether you add virtual behavior guidelines to your new employee training and company handbook or decide to make cyber security training a part of monthly meetings, taking a minute to inform your staff on how they should act while using company computers, tablets, phones or any other technology is important. Make sure to clearly lay out what they should and shouldn’t be using company tech for, as well as provide a few examples and explain the danger. After all, it only takes one employee visiting the wrong site to potentially endanger your business’ important information.
Secure Your Hardware
While the KRACK threat is centered around Wi-Fi connections, some cyber security threats can result from your hardware simply getting stolen. With many businesses keeping important information saved to hard drives, just one piece of hardware missing could result in huge problems for your business. Making sure all of your hardware is either physically bolted down or is locked away at the end of the day should be Business 101. If there isn't a place to store mobile electronics, securing them to a surface with a Kensington lock can help. While far from impenetrable, these electronics-specific locks can deter impatient or speedy thieves from running away with your business' information.
About Nova Point of Sale - Founded by retailers, for retailers, Nova Point of Sale is designed to provide the tools necessary to help businesses grow. Nova built a unique POS solution to solve common retail challenges and increase a business' revenue. Nova uses the latest cutting-edge technology to manage and analyze each aspect of a business so owners and managers can spend more time focusing on the big picture.
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