Digital Safety


Digital Safety

Effective cybersecurity requires a team effort.

Computer hackers do not target only large, Fortune 500 companies. In fact, criminals have begun to target small businesses, specifically because they rarely have the resources to fully protect themselves. Good cybersecurity provides defense through depth: layer upon layer of protection that can stop threats even when a single layer fails. However, even if you don’t have the resources to configure and maintain many layers of cybersecurity, there are a few basic steps you can take to protect your operation.

1. Do Something. Anything.

The most important step in creating a more secure environment is to start doing something. Pick anything, from documenting a company-wide password policy to reviewing your software and hardware settings. Just beginning the process will give you numerous ideas for security improvements.

Taking this first simple step will help you better understand your current level of security and where you need to go next.

2. Get Everyone on Board.

Just like workplace safety, digital safety is a goal that all employees need to be thinking about as they do their jobs. Managers and office personnel are obvious targets for a cybersecurity breach, but in many component plants, you cannot find a single employee who does not use a computer at some point in the day!

While network firewalls and anti-virus software are important, end-user training is the most critical tool available to fight computer threats. Understanding attack types like ransomware (a virus that encrypts your network’s data) and phishing (a method of spoofing an email in order to steal sensitive information) can help you identify threats. When a user has the knowledge to spot something phishy, the chance of preventing a breach is much higher. Teaching and reminding your team members to watch for suspicious emails is an important part of protecting your network.

3. Don’t Stop.

After gathering the low-hanging fruit like anti-virus software and network file access rights, there is still more work to be done. Tying systems together with a unified threat management tool, for example, can provide great security while also offering an easy way to manage the backend of your network. As more devices are introduced into your network, more possibilities for a hole in your security walls are introduced as well. Making sure that all devices are running the latest operating system and software patches, as well as maintaining proper administrative access, is a crucial, ongoing process.

With an ever-increasing amount of computer-controlled machinery in component plants, it is important to work with hardware and software vendors to ensure all the computers and digital devices accessing your network are secure. As more and more employees work remotely, making sure you have the ability to protect end users on their laptops, home computers, and cellphones is critical to your ongoing success as a business. Whether you’re planning your next company training on digital security or simply reviewing your existing processes, be sure you are taking into account all the ways your staff interacts with your network.

Greg Dahlstrom, IT/IS Manager of Villaume Industries in St. Paul, Minnesota, chairs SBCA’s IT committee. If you are interested in getting involved in the IT committee, email