Maximizing Security: 5 Leading Cyber Risk Reduction Techniques for Small Businesses

Cyber-security risk management is key to your business’s future

In my last “Is Your Business Secure” post I shared the first 5 essentials that any business should have in place to protect their future.

To recap, they were:

  • An attorney vetted service agreement or contract.
  • Professional liability insurance.
  • Effective software protection to prevent cyber risks and hacking access to your website and administration functions.
  • Analysis of your service list for potentially dangerous work conditions that may be unnecessarily exposing your business
  • A strong vetting and onboarding process to vet new staff.

In Part 2 of this risk management series, I’m sharing 5 additional strategies to protect yourself and your business from cyber-attacks, plus risk protection tools specific to the senior downsizing industry.

Having cyber-security policies in place reduces risk

Best Cyber-Securities Policies

You hear about massive corporations being hit daily by hackers accessing vital customer or personal information, but small businesses are even more vulnerable.  Most don’t have the financial resources to pay for high-dollar security protection.

So how do you optimize your business security structure without investing millions of dollars?

The following are some of the top cyber-security policies recommended by experts. 

Safe browsing policies are key to protecting your network assets

Safe Browsing Policies

Experts recommend instituting safe browsing habits and implementing clear guidelines for anyone accessing your computer system. Many experts recommend limited employee access to the Internet.

    In addition, educate your staff about not opening emails from unknown sources or clicking on links, even if the source looks legitimate (like a bank).

    Keep your software updated

    Updating your software regularly means you’re protected with the most current security fixes. If you don’t have time to check this every month, set your computer up with automated updates that can occur during off-peak hours.

    Handling sensitive data is a critical best practice

    Handling sensitive data

    Do you have a strategy to protect your customer’s sensitive data? If you maintain customer credit card numbers, passwords, or other vulnerable personal information on your computer or network, ensure only appropriate staff members (billing department, accounting, or ownership administration) have access.

    In the case of credit cards, many experts recommend this type of data be destroyed once the payment has been made. Shred documentation with any vulnerable information on it instead of tossing it.

    Passwords and verification processes

    Creating a safe environment for your business’s most vulnerable information can be improved by making it harder for cyber thieves to access it. Most online companies now require a 2-factor verification process to ensure additional levels of security.

    A strong password uses a string of letters, numbers, and symbols of at least 8 to 12 characters long.  Avoid using social security numbers or other common numbers or words like your name, address, phone number, or birthdate.

    Reporting fraudulent activity helps stop future risk

    Report suspicious or fraudulent activity

    If a hacker or scammer has stolen your data, report it immediately. This may be your local police, software product company, or a bank or credit card account.  If your client’s information has been compromised, let them know immediately to change their password or take steps for additional protection.   

    Not reporting it only creates more opportunities for the bad guys to steal from others.

    RIsk management policies should include handling client medications

    Additional Security Steps for Downsizing Specialists

    If you provide senior downsizing services, there are additional risk management issues in this industry that other industries don’t experience.

    So, if you don’t already have them, create policies and procedures for high-risk items. These policies should clearly outline responsibilities for who is responsible for transporting them on move day. Examples include valuables, medicines, or extra fragile items that can’t be packed easily or securely are examples.

    In my senior downsizing business, I made it a policy to never transport valuables like jewelry or prescription medicines. The client should always have full control of these items. In addition, I always recommended they be held under lock and key (in a car or other safe location).

    Service Disclaimers

    Adding disclaimers to your service contract can also help give clarity to your clients. When a person is in transition, there are a lot of details to manage. So provide disclaimers in your agreement about which services you offer, or don’t offer. It can protect you from the dreaded “I thought YOU took care of that!” conversation after damages have occurred.

    The time to discuss potential security issues with your clients is before you start your services during your initial consultation. Reviewing these disclaimers before they sign your contract allows them to ask questions and feel more secure. For more on what to include in your service contract, check out my Business Start-Up Essentials course for senior downsizing specialists.

    Your customers will appreciate it when you have consistent policies that reduce risk to their personal information and property.  Taking a proactive stance in protecting your business gives you peace of mind when you know you’ve done your best to protect your business’s future.


    Interested in starting your own senior downsizing business? Click here for more information on my comprehensive, affordable online training program options.