Running an online business has numerous advantages. It gives you access to an international market and flexibility. Also, your start-up and overhead expenses are relatively low with an online company, and you can easily implement zero-dollar marketing strategies via social media and other forms of online advertising. With the abundance of online payment services, such as Stripe and PayPal, you can easily receive payments for your brand’s offerings directly to your bank account, even if your customer resides abroad. But as many companies go virtual, the number of cybersecurity threats increases because cyber criminals know that online businesses usually have repositories of customer information in their databases.
Fast Simon, an eCommerce merchandising optimization platform for merchants, points out that ”knowing your customers; who they are, what they want, and what makes them buy helps you create a personalized, targeted experience.” In the process of learning about your customers and serving them in a personalized manner, you obtain sensitive data such as their credit card information, tax details, email, and home addresses. You must restrict access to such data and take all necessary steps to prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to them. This article provides you with tips for protecting your business from hacking.
1. Choose the Right Cloud Provider for Your Company
You must select a cloud service provider that is capable of handling sensitive data. Ideally, cloud services should allow data encryption in transit and at rest. Encryption translates your information into a secret code before sending it over the internet. You can activate network encryption through your wireless router settings or use a VPN (virtual private network) solution on your device when working with a public network. Encryption helps reduce the risk of theft, tampering, or destruction.
So, when choosing a cloud service provider, you should not just check how well the architecture can be incorporated into your current and future workflows. You should also assess the security measures offered by each cloud service provider and the mechanisms they use to preserve data and applications. Also, look at the security features provided free of charge by each vendor you are considering and the additional paid services they provide. Some cloud service providers, such as Google Cloud and AWS, make the process of confirming their security credentials easy by listing their security features, partner integrations, and paid products on their websites’ security sections.
2. Ensure All Your Software Are up to Date
Hackers frequently come up with new means of gaining access to people’s data. As a result, software providers usually upgrade their programs to withstand potential attacks and viruses. To protect your business against newer types of cyber attacks, keep all the software on your computer and your operating system updated. You wouldn’t want to leave your computer vulnerable to attacks due to a preventable weakness such as outdated software.
So, consider setting up an automatic update on your computer. You can schedule the updates after business hours or at other convenient times. Besides preventing data breaches, software updates allow you to enjoy newer technology features and improvements that can significantly improve your team’s efficiency.
3. Use Secure Passwords and Change Them Frequently
Your passwords should be complex and regularly updated. Instead of using single words, use passphrases for your devices and networks that contain sensitive business and customer information. Passphrases consist of different words. They are easy to remember but complex for machines to crack. Consider making your passphrases at least 15 characters long. They can include up to four random words put together comprising numbers, special characters, uppercase, and lowercase alphabets.
Avoid using the same passphrase for different accounts because if a hacker gets hold of one account, all your other accounts could be at risk. You can securely store your passphrases in a password manager to avoid forgetting them. Also, change your passwords after using them for some months and limit access to accounts with administrative privileges. Such a privilege can allow someone to perform sensitive tasks such as installing programs and creating other accounts. Hackers usually take advantage of administrative privileges to gain access to business accounts.
4. Train Your Team Members About Cybersecurity
Develop a culture of security in your company. Ensure your employees are adequately trained to protect themselves and the business against cyber threats and attacks. They should know how to recognize a cybersecurity threat and mitigate it.
In addition, your employees should be up-to-date with information about common cyber attacks, such as malware, phishing, social engineering, and spam. They should also be educated on how to report red flags and set strong passwords on their accounts.