Having the right tools in your belt when it comes to security can be the difference between your business thriving to its full potential and one seemingly-small breach making everything come crashing down in flames. As a business owner, your focus is on building, growing, and moving forward. You don’t have time to also be your own security guard.

Luckily, with the technology we have access to today, securing your business can be as simple as choosing the right tools and processes for the job. These are several of our favorite tools and ways to use them that will keep your business protected.

TL;DR? Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Why antivirus software is so important
  • How to stop using the same password for everything
  • Where to put your files to keep them safe
  • What a VPN is and why you need one
  • Why having a plan is the best security step there is

1. Use antivirus software. No, seriously

Use antivirus software

This is one of those things that seems like such a no-brainer it gets forgotten a lot of the time.

While we recommend spending the money a high-powered solution like Bitdefender Business or ESET, at the very least, download a free solution like Avast’s basic home computer protection. A little something is better than nothing every time!

Do some research on whatever solution you’re using to make sure your setup isn’t violating the terms of service. Often services (especially the free ones) will have rules against being used in a business setting.

2. Generate passwords with a password manager (and stop reusing them!)

Generate passwords with a password manager (and stop reusing them!)

It’s the advice you’ve been given a thousand times by a thousand sites: use a unique password! Don’t use a password you’ve already used somewhere else! It makes perfect sense, but we hardly ever follow it. It’s a lot easier to remember one password instead of a new one for each of the many sites and apps we use on a daily basis.

An easy way to make sure you’re using a strong, unique password for everything is to use a password manager with a password-generating feature. Dashlane and 1Password both have small business packages that offer this feature.

If you already have a password manager without a password-generating feature and don’t want to switch, don’t worry! 1Password has a free password generatofhref

r you can use to create a bulletproof password without even entering your email address.

Wait, what was that? That was your last excuse for using weak passwords flying away.

3. Store your documents in the cloud

Store your documents in the cloud

It’s easy to list off a dozen reasons right now why keeping your business’ important documents stored exclusively on your hard drive is a bad idea:

  • In the event, your files are stored locally and something happens to your computer, you’re out of luck.
  • If it gets stolen, boom. Gone.
  • If malware sneaks around your anti-virus software and jacks up your files, you’re toast.

You get the idea.

Keeping your documents in the cloud not only allows you to have access to whatever you might need whenever you might need it, it also keeps your files safe from both physical and virtual harm.

Take ransomware for example. Even with a simple solution like Dropbox, in the event your computer is hijacked until you pay a ransom to release it, you have options:

  1. You can unlink your computer from your Dropbox account and reset any files that may have been corrupted.
  2. Or you can even “rewind” your entire Dropbox to right before the ransomware hit.

The result? You’re home free without so much as a scratch on your data.

Another benefit of storing your files in the cloud is the arsenal of security features you get:

  • Everything is password-protected and encrypted in a way you can’t easily replicate on your own
  • You can give and revoke access to files at any time, keeping you safe if an employee or contractor goes rogue

Save yourself the time and hassle of dealing with a crisis before it happens. Take a look at a simple solution like Dropbox or OneDrive (or Google Drive, if you’re looking for something free), or get fancy with a more specific, features-loaded option like Sharepoint.

4. Get Yourself a Reliable VPN

Get Yourself a Reliable VPN

You’re on a website called VPNpro. Did you really think you’d get all the way through this article without talking about VPNs? No way.

VPNs are like the icing on the cake of security (they’re also great by themselves, so they could technically be the cake, but in this scenario, we’ll focus on how they tie everything together nicely and are thus the icing). VPNs take all your privacy efforts and take them to another level by funneling your connection to the internet through a magical portal of anonymity and safety.

How VPNs work is they mask all your internet activity, making you totally anonymous and untraceable on the internet.

  • This keeps you untrackable by entities like the government or ad agencies
  • It helps to protect your business by keeping your data under wraps
  • It’s also great for when that Netflix show you’ve been eyeing is only available in Argentina

We have some strong opinions over here about which VPN is best, but to keep it simple, two of our favorites are ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Unassailable security, reliable geo-unblocking, and above average speeds make ExpressVPN one of our favorite VPNs overall. A premium tool in every respect, including the price.
  • Watertight security
  • Massive server list
  • Great for streaming
  • Very good for torrenting
  • Very fast
  • 24/7 customer support

5. Train your staff, then train them again. Now go train yourself. Wash, rinse, repeat

Train your staff, then train them again. Now go train yourself. Wash, rinse, repeat

While training isn’t technically a tool, we’re throwing it in here anyway. It’s one of the best, most important actions you can take when the security of your business is in question. Even the strongest security plan is only as strong as its weakest link, so make sure your team (as well as you yourself) know what’s going on.

  • Have a set policy of tools your team is required to use
  • Have regular checks to make sure everyone is complying
  • Put together a game plan for what to do in a security breach or other emergency
  • Make your team change their passwords every 180 days
  • Once you figure out what steps to take to secure your business, write them down and have a meeting about it
  • Implement every single one and update the list regularly

Before you know it, you’ll have a strong, foolproof system for keeping your business protected and secure.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to act on keeping what you’ve built safe. Taking small steps like those outlined above can, though simple, be the difference between thriving and failing.

What is your favorite way to secure your business? Share in the comments below!