Your business is more than simply a way to earn a living, a way to keep bread on the table and a roof over your family’s head. It’s both an opportunity and an obligation. It is a means through which you test and fulfill your highest potential. And, it is a promise that you make to your employees, stakeholders, and clients.
In other words, the success or failure of your organisation doesn’t affect you alone. There are countless individuals whose destinies are riding on the wings of your company. It is incumbent on you to do everything in your power to protect your business across all domains because, in so doing, you are protecting the individuals, the families, and even the communities connected to your company.
This article discusses the critical importance of protecting your business from the inside out and describes actionable strategies for doing so.
One of the first and most critical tasks to focus on when seeking to erect a circle of protection around your business is security. This should include not only cybersecurity but also internal security.
For instance, though no business owner likes to admit it, employees do not always have the organisation’s best interest at heart. You must take measures to protect your company against employee fraud, though perhaps rare. It is, nevertheless, always a possibility. Sometimes, employees also leak sensitive information or leave vulnerabilities open completely on accident due to negligence or lack of training. It’s not always malicious, but it can lead to dire consequences for your business.
The onus is on business leaders to be proactive in guarding against this threat through measures which limit access to sensitive data to only properly credentialed employees. This also means protecting data and devices with passwords, firewalls, and security monitoring to ensure that activity on equipment containing private data can be restricted and tracked by authorised personnel.
Similar measures should be taken in the domain of cybersecurity. This would include, for instance, intensive and repeated cybersecurity training for all employees, regular updating of security software, and the protection of the network through the use of firewalls, passwords, or, ideally, a virtual private network.
It’s also imperative that business leaders define clear policies for maintaining cybersecurity best practices organisation-wide, including among third-party vendors, suppliers, and stakeholders. This should also involve regulations on how work technology, from laptops to cell phones to tablets, should be used and secured.
Further, business leaders should recruit qualified security analysts to provide ongoing cyber-risk assessments, ensuring that your organisation is prepared to address and neutralise ever-evolving security threats.
Protecting Intellectual Content
No matter how trustworthy your employees may be or how well your data is protected, your company is really only as safe as the intellectual content you produce. Unfortunately, intellectual property theft is real and ubiquitous. Unless you take significant and early steps to safeguard your content by securing trademarks, copyrights, and related legal protections, you may find your company severely undercut. Protect your startup from rivals looking to steal your ideas and even exploit your brand.
For instance, unethical startup organisations may seek a shortcut in penetrating the market by mimicking or even replicating key features of a successful, established brand. This is a particularly significant threat in the online realm, where brand impersonation is often a cheap and effective way to get clicks by tricking unwary social media users and web browsers into believing they are doing business with a company they are already familiar with.
Without the proper protections in place, for example, bad actors can easily clone your company website or create shadow social media accounts imitating your business. Not only can this divert revenue from your company to those of your rival, but bad actors can also use these fraudulent platforms to torpedo your company’s reputation — by posting offensive or misleading content in your company’s name.
The good news, though, is that it is possible to guard against brand impersonation online through the use of software specifically designed to detect potential impersonators and alert you to the issue. If all your content, both online and offline, has the requisite legal protections, from trademarks to copyrights, then you will have legal recourse to demand that the fraudulent materials be taken down.
Supporting Employees’ Health
Every savvy business leader knows that their employees are the lifeblood of the business. Without them, the organisation would cease to exist. If you want to protect your company from the inside out, you must also protect the well-being of your employees.
Mental health issues, such as anxiety, have peaked post-pandemic. Your employees are likely to have experienced a substantial amount of trauma borne not only by the health impacts of the virus itself but also by the isolation and loneliness of the lockdowns and the financial anxiety of widespread layoffs and the continuing threat of a global recession.
In light of this, it is likely that your employees are going to require more support than ever before in maintaining, or regaining, their physical and mental health. This may mean augmenting your employee benefits packages with perks to help them cultivate a healthier work-life balance, such as discounted gym and spa memberships or opportunities to participate in corporate retreats a few times per year.
In addition, supporting your employees’ wellness may also mean that you must learn to be more flexible in your operating practices and business model. Employees may need more opportunities for paid time off. They may require a remote or hybrid work schedule, particularly if they are providing care for elderly parents or for children who are now learning from home.
Be Cautious With New Technologies
Innovation is the key to success in any business. Indeed, your company’s very survival can depend on your ability to meet the ever-changing demands of the market faster and better than your closest rivals.
That does not mean, however, that it is wise to leap blindly into every fad, to go all-in for every trend. The key is to be deliberate and informed. Do your homework and ensure that when you embrace new technology, a new business model, or a new market, you have the data to back it up.
For instance, blockchain is a new, popular, and promising financial technology that businesses can ignore only at their peril. Nevertheless, because it is a novel system, many critical questions remain unanswered. Technologists and financiers alike, for instance, still dispute precisely what this new digital currency is, how it should be defined, what function it serves, and what role it will play in the global economy of the future.
If implementing this system, you will need to be aware of new strategies like blockchain security and precautions of its unique challenges. Because such questions have yet to be resolved, it’s vital to engage cautiously, leveraging the promise and potential of blockchain while also seeking to mitigate its risks — many of which are still largely unknown.
In addition to ensuring the protection of your company’s digital systems through enhanced cybersecurity, business leaders seeking to capitalise on the potential of cryptocurrency while protecting their organisation from prospective harm would do well to diversify their financial portfolio. You can do so by investing in a wide array of assets or operating through both digital and fiat currencies.
Protecting your business is a profound responsibility, one that ripples through the lives of untold numbers of others, many of whom you may never see or know. The good news, though, is that there are many ways to support the survival and success of your organisation across both the short and long term. This includes prioritising internal and cybersecurity, protecting your company’s intellectual property, supporting employees’ physical and mental health, and engaging in innovation with care and deliberation.