In the last couple of years, online businesses have reached the highest point yet. It seems like, nowadays, you only need a good business idea combined with a well-thought-out strategy to reach millions around the world. But, as your online business grows, so does the number of potential cybersecurity threats. Reportedly, more than 60 percent of small businesses have experienced some sort of cyber-attack. Yet almost half of the respondents had no idea how to protect their businesses against versatile security risks including phishing, advanced malware, zero-day and ransomware attacks. Knowing how to protect your online business is crucial for keeping your money, data or even reputation safe.
The good news is there are numerous simple methods you can use to protect your online business. Here are 10 things you should keep in mind when considering the security aspects of your online business.
10 Ways to Protect Your Online Business
Choose a Secure Hosting Service
There is no successful online business without a professional website. But great design and powerful features won’t do you much good if you choose the wrong hosting company. So, make sure your online platform or website is hosted by a reliable web hosting service provider that is PCI compliant. This is how you will be sure your site’s payment and checkout processes are secure from hackers who constantly search for loopholes they can exploit. Although free hosting sounds attractive, we suggest you don’t even consider it as an option for your online business. Besides limited speed and shared server space, free hosting is also highly risky when it comes to security. If you want to keep your sensitive information, user’s data, or their credit card accounts protected, free hosting isn’t the way to go.
If possible, choose only a secure hosting that will provide your website with an SSL certificate. It will mark your website with HTTPS which stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. This certificate makes sure that all communication between your users’ browser and your website is encrypted.
Email Security Best Practices
Millions of emails are sent every day. But according to research, only 50% of their content is legitimate, while the rest falls into the spam category. This means that a large number of emails you and your employees receive could be potential security threats. Emails are commonly used to infect your computer system with ransomware. Here, cybercriminals include malicious attachments in the emails they send out. When you open an infected mail, you give ransomware permission to enter your computer system. This further increases the chances for more serious security attacks. However, if you stick to the following simple steps, you could significantly reduce the potential risks.
Firstly, discourage your employees from using their business email address when subscribing to unreliable mailing lists. Also, let everyone in your company know they should be especially cautious when it comes to links sent within emails, social media, or unfamiliar websites. Unless you expect a certain link or attachment, never open it without scanning. In the end, clean up your email regularly and use antispam software. Antispam reduces unwanted email, links, and distractions for your employees.
Pay special attention to passwords. Strong passwords that combine upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special symbols are harder to crack. For added security, change your passwords regularly and consider using two-factor authentication. Apart from this, never send passwords or any other kind of sensitive data via email unencrypted.
Keep Software Up-to-Date
Keeping your software up-to-date is important for preventing security risks. Outdated software increases the chance your system will become a cybercriminals’ target. That’s why you should regularly update both your security software program and the software programs installed on your computer. To save time, set all your software programs to automatically install updates. This will make it much harder for hackers to infiltrate your computer network and website.
Protect your Computer Network
Investing in a professional security package will definitely pay off. Choose reliable anti-virus and anti-malware products. If possible, choose a package that includes website penetration testing and malware cleanup. This will help you locate any malware that made the way onto your system, which is a good starting point for keeping your hardware and software secured.
Regular backups are one of the best ways to protect your website and data. If you have backups of your important files securely stored, you can easily recover them all in the case of a cyber-attack. Our recommendation is to keep your copies off-site. This way, even if your servers are compromised, your data will be safe. Instead of storing your files in the cloud, download them and keep them on and offline machine, external hard drive, or even CDs.
Secure Wi-Fi Network
We all use Wi-Fi networks, but they’re not always safe. In order to avoid potential security threats,
make sure your Wi-Fi network is encrypted. Moreover, regularly change your Wi-Fi password. This is especially important if you have a “guest” network for customers and clients since you never know whether their devices are infected. You should also be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. If you’re out of the office and need to access your email via public Wi-Fi, an additional precaution you can take is using a VPN (virtual private network).
Set up Firewall
Firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic in order to permit or block data packets. To secure your internal networks from threats, install firewalls on your servers and on all the office devices you use – laptops, computers, and mobile phones.
Business meetings often take place out of the office. In an ideal scenario, your security system will have location awareness. As employees move inside or outside the office, the security settings on their laptops will be automatically changed to the advanced level of protection.
Educate Your Employees on Cyber Safety
Even the best security software won’t work if your employees don’t know the basic things about potential security risks. They could be unaware that pop-ups, emails, or unexpected links they receive, can seriously damage your online business. For this reason, they should be informed of how to protect their devices and choose a strong password. It’s also important to educate them about anti-virus programs they can use to keep their devices clean.
Knowing how to protect your online business from potential security threats can be crucial to your success. If you don’t want to lose precious time and money or injure your company’s good reputation, you need to pay attention to security. With just a few simple steps you can make sure your business devices, data, and network are safe and secure.
About the author: Having been working in the SEO industry for over 4 years, Ivana has also gained interest in Product management and has been actively involved in this field for over a year now. Apart from the experience that she gained by working on different marketing projects over the years, she has also written many articles on topics related to digital marketing, WordPress and online business. She is currently working on a project for WPKlik.com.