If you are like many small businesses, you may believe your company won’t ever make it on a hacker’s radar. Unfortunately, each year, millions of small businesses are targeted by cybercriminals around the country and if they don’t have proper safeguards in place, they may suffer devastating losses. The good news is, there are steps you can take to help safeguard your online business and ensure hackers and other nefarious individuals don’t have a chance when it comes to your sensitive information or data. Keep reading to learn what you can do to safeguard your online business here.
While cyber-attackers may steal an array of information if they can gain access to it, usually, the main focus is either credit card information or personal information of customers or employees (i.e. Social Security numbers, address, etc.). It’s best to put safeguards in place for all data and information but especially data that is particularly sensitive or sought after.
You may know it’s important to have the latest and most sophisticated cybersecurity software in place, but what about the hardware you use to run your online business? Usually, this is overlooked when it comes to attacks, but the theft or loss of physical devices is something you should understand and be aware of.
When creating a prevention strategy for cyber-attacks, begin with the basics – protect all the devices you use with a challenging password and share the password only with other people who use that device. Also, instead of writing your password down, memorize it. You should consider attaching your computer to your desk, too, as this is going to prevent intruders from walking away with this vital equipment and the sensitive information contained inside.
Even if you run an online business, you may have employees. There’s a good chance some of these employees work remotely, which means you may not be able to ensure they are following the proper steps to prevent an attack. However, if you educate your employees about the potential issues that may arise if an attack were to occur, you can help convince them that these safeguards are necessary. Remember, information is power.
While having a next generation firewall in place is a great way to prevent cyber-attacks, it’s not always foolproof. As attackers get smarter and use new methods, you have to ensure you have layers of protection in place.
Two layers to help with this is by preventing physical access to the data and making the data completely useless if it does fall into the wrong hands. A company can achieve this by making sure you are always encrypting your data. Data encryption is considered the best fix for any data breach – if they occur. Make sure that all customer and employee information and all business-related data is encrypted. You can find full-disk encryption software with almost all operating systems that can encrypt all the information on your laptop or desktop computer when it isn’t being used.
It’s also a good idea to keep your software activated and updated on any device you use for managing your online business. Also, minimize the amount of time your computer remains unused and unblocked by making sure it is set to go into “lock” or “sleep” mode after about five minutes of not being used.
Another effective way to protect your information is by backing up all your data. With some ransomware hackers locking a business owner out of their systems completely, encrypting the data, and the requesting a ransom to release it, you can remain a step ahead by backing up all data and keeping it stored separately.
Have you put a WAF – web application firewall – in place to ensure your website is protected? Have you used a PCI-DDS (payment card industry data security standards) ecommerce platform that is Level 1 compliant? If not, you are at risk.
With these entities in place, you will be protected against most data security breaches across the entire payment network, not just for a single card. You should also find out if the hosting company you are planning to use has the staff available to constantly patch any security vulnerabilities that may occur. If not, this means your website may be at risk and attacked.
Because cyber-criminals are going to be working around the clock to find new ways to breach your security defenses, you are going to constantly be at some risk of a breach or attack. This is true even for the most security-aware businesses. You can effectively minimize this risk by purchasing cybersecurity insurance. The cost of this is going to be based on your level of risk to be the victim of an attack and how much of a financial impact the event would have.
If you aren’t sure whether or not your security is up to par when it comes to your online business, consider hiring a professional to evaluate the measures you have in place and if they are effective enough to protect your business if an attack were to occur. These professionals can find vulnerabilities that are present and provide you with information and methods to ensure that the issues are taken care of quickly.
If you want to ensure your online business is secure and that the risk of cyber-attack is mitigated, use the information here. By implementing the tips and methods of protection mentioned, you can minimize issues and help ensure that your online business is protected, regardless of how long it has been open or how big or small it may be. Don’t underestimate the benefits offered by the tips here – you have to take steps to protect your business or you are putting yourself at serious risk for losses and costly breaches.