It is a common practice that in business meetings, only relevant people are engaged, particularly in confidential meetings. Why? Because there are some plans, discoveries, or actions that are not to be disclosed before the appropriate time to everyone.
With the advent of technology, face to face interaction has reduced and we are more connected through devices. Despite the many benefits of using technology in communication, there are also security risks present. You must have listened to stories of cybercrimes almost every day, and the harm that cybercrimes inflict on individuals, businesses, as well as government departments.
As a business owner, you can’t afford security risks and leakage of information because your stakeholders trust you and provide you their private information. Your bank details and theirs are shared and if you’re attacked by a cybercriminal, they might be too.
Therefore, cybersecurity is extremely important. In fact, worldwide spending on security-related hardware or software is predicted to reach $133.7 billion in 2022.
Communication security is not an exclusive concern of big enterprises; small businesses need to protect their valuable data as well. There are numerous ways to ensure communication security, let’s discuss some of the most beneficial and accessible ones.
9 Ways to Keep Your Communication Secure
Here are some easy but valuable tips to keep your communication safe and secure.
1. Set-Up a Virtual LAN
One of the top security measures businesses can take is setting up a Virtual LAN (Local Area Network). This technology consists of a subset of devices that are communicating privately on a larger network. In simple terms, you can say that a VLAN is a unique domain that is created and managed by smart Ethernet switches. The benefits of using VLAN in terms of security include:
- When devices are separated into multiple VLANs, it’s much easier to prevent an infected computer from infecting the entire network.
- You may separately encrypt the contents of a SIP call. This will help in the sense that even if the call is intercepted, the contents of the call become impossible to understand. This way you can take advantage of SIP calling while ensuring communication security.
- Many businesses are using corporate phone systems to make cost-effective calls. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is used to make and complete calls in most versions of VoIP. With a VLAN, it’s possible to separately encrypt the content of a SIP call and even if the call has been intercepted, the call content cannot be easily understood.
2. Engage Relevant People and Limit Authority
In many instances, company employees disclose information that was supposed to remain confidential, costing companies huge financial loss. This happens in a business that has come up with a new advertising plan and already made huge investments.
The benefit is yet to be materialized after its launch on a specific event. Yet, the plan reaches a competitor through an internal employee and they took advantage of the opportunity before your company did.
To keep goals secret, an important strategy is to not let everyone be a part of confidential meetings to prevent information leakage. 61% of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) believe that employees leak data maliciously. This also necessitates that upon hiring, company confidentiality policies are communicated.
3. Develop a Communications Security Manual
Research suggests that 79% of IT leaders believe that employees have put company data at risk accidentally in the last 12 months. Therefore, companies should require employees to keep information secure at all times.
Consider developing a manual that could be handed over to employees on how to adhere to communication security. This is a good practice because it will not only help set a standard for your employees in their communication but it also reduces the company’s security risk.
4. Strengthen Passwords and Change them Regularly
Advise your employees to keep changing passwords and strengthen them by following certain tips such as making it long enough and using different passwords on different accounts. Also, suggest that they always log out of their account especially if they are working from home or some cafe.
5. Communicate Over Collaboration Tools
With the rise of remote working<%2a>, organizations are using online collaboration tools due to their massive benefits. Along with the improvement in workflow, communication, and productivity in all industries, it can minimize communication security risks.
- Storing all of this information in a central hub saves you time and effort in creating data backups.
- Communication between employees becomes visible to relevant people.
- Collaboration tools come with security. For example, Microsoft Teams comes with team-wide and organization-wide two-factor authentication, as well as an encryption of data in transit and at rest. It also has an advanced level of threat protection with the capability to block harmful content. This tool also has security certifications such as ISO 27001 making it the safest option for remote working.
6. VoIP System to Ensure Security
You will also have improved identity management so that you track anyone coming up with threats. Also, you will get automatic alerts in case you receive any suspected calls. The advanced level of recording feature itself allows you to detect employees leaking any information or breaching confidentiality.
7. Don’t Forget About Backing-up your Data
Sometimes companies end up hiring dishonest people and they may inflict harm to the business to an unimaginable extent. Amongst them, some angry employees intentionally sabotage the company’s valuable information, even to the point of sharing it with competitors to gain some personal benefits.
While you cannot fully control these risks as these are based on intentions and moral values, you can certainly avoid them. For example, create backups of everything.
- Hard files may be scanned and backed up.
- Use reliable media or backup in the cloud.
- If you are using certain media for creating backups, don’t forget to keep the devices in an off-site location, away from employee access.
8. Protect Computers and Networks
As businesses and clients are continuously moving toward online interactions, there are more opportunities for cybercriminals to go for data theft and attack the connectivity modes such as computers and networks. Businesses should therefore protect their computers, devices, and networks.
Well-protected computers and network security limit the risks of data theft and cyberattacks. The benefits of network security include but are not limited to protecting your data from malicious spyware. It also reduces the chances of stealing data in transit. What do you need to do about this?
- Keep your software updated.
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Safeguard your wifi.
9. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
After the COVID 19 pandemic, remote work has become incredibly popular. This has led to many workers using their personal devices to do their job. These devices are probably not as protected as corporate one’s. Not to mention that many remote employees like to sit in a coffee shop and use free internet for work. This makes a business more vulnerable to cybercrimes.
A great solution to this is using a virtual private network (VPN). VPN uses encryption methodology and when data leaves your computer, it is protected until it reaches the other end of the connection when you want it to be. It’s one of the simplest methods of online security, but just like anything VPN has some disadvantages to be aware of.
In this article, we have understood that communication security is a key concern for all types of business. Protection from data theft and fraud is a must for a business to be competitive in today’s world.
Big businesses can make high investments in order to protect their data and small businesses should strategize their investments to ensure communication security and avoid future losses.