Online security is the Achilles heel for most small business owners. When you think you are on top of your web protection, new security threats and advanced hacking methods are unearthed. Any small business must think of their online security as a strong foundation. Without any good security practices in place, your web presence is about as safe as a house with no walls.
This blog gives some tips on protecting yourself and your customer base from online threats. Your online safety is as much important as theirs. If you leave your website protection open to chance, you are potentially offering an unlocked window for hackers to gain your clients valuable data. Do not take risks and save yourself from being held liable. These tips are simple and many know them, but there are still entrepreneurs out there who hold their sales and marketing in higher esteem then the protection of their customer and this should be the most important of all factors in operating online.
A strong password is a must. Weak passwords are a double edged sword for your website as both your information – and more importantly your customer’s information could be compromised. Ensure that the log in details for your Content Management System are strong. Add capitals, symbols, numerical to make sure your password is watertight. If your customers hold online accounts with you, ensure that it is mandatory that they must use certain criteria like the ones listed above for a strong password.
Don’t go it alone
Online security can be intimidating and if you are not incredibly techie, it can be hard to understand what your business needs to be safe. It is best to enlist the help of an IT consultant, someone who is internet savvy and can match your requirements with solutions. Look for a well-established and trusted company to help.
A clean computer is a happy one
Make sure all of your devices are clean; computers, tablets, laptops. When I say clean, I mean that they are all hosting up to date antivirus and malware software. Keep abreast of software updates and more importantly implement them! Be mindful of pressing the “Remind me later” option and update immediately. Remember – security is your priority. Install a firewall. It does exactly what it says on the tin so to speak and protects you from outsiders trying to access your data.
Protect your customer’s wallet
Is your customer able to purchase goods off your website? Well make sure they are protected. Work with your bank to ensure that only the most protected payment system is enabled or try PayPal as an even safer option. Make sure you understand the fraud systems that are in place and very importantly understand your liabilities if any financial data was compromised.
Stabilise your mobile
As mobile devices are playing an ever increasing part in the handling of online business make sure that you install antivirus software too. It is important to remember that any device that you are using for business or accessing the internet needs to be secure, not just your desktop. Also, to hone in on the password point earlier, it is critical that your smartphone has a code on it. After all it is a portable library of valuable information that could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
Practice makes perfect
Make sure to conduct regular audits on your systems. Sure, you might have started out with the most up to date security software but have the hackers already outsmarted them?
Social Media – or Malaise?
Social Media is part and parcel of online business activity. If you have a website presence, you almost certainly have a Facebook or Twitter page coupled with it. Security on these mediums is just as important. Facebook pages can give a wealth of information away without you realising. Make your business page only visible to your followers so you can keep track of your audience. Likewise the use of social media by your employees within the organisation should be restricted – but not prohibited altogether. The reason is that employees will often try to find ways around this thus creating gaps for access from security threats. Make sure that your employees are educated on the use of social media in the work place and the potential security breech that it could impose. Education is fundamental and employees should be always kept up to speed on any online security issues to prevent any unfortunate incidences occurring.
Make sure you are always learning about online security and the issues surrounding it in today’s world. The internet is so fast paced and it is exciting to be a part of that but it is also a great big melting pot for hackers and viruses who often very easily slip the net due to lax security policies.