3 Ways To Protect Your Online Business
Stay safe online with these few tips
The internet is the open frontier for new businesses. Gone is the simple assumption that a business or store will have a brick-and-mortar component that customers can physically visit. Instead, companies are moving their activities to the online world, where concerns such as property taxes, building maintenance and employee safety are effectively nonexistent. Then there are businesses like graphic design companies that have been working from computers for decades.
Unfortunately, the internet is also an open frontier for greedy criminals who intend to do harm to legitimate organizations. Being savvy about online security practices is now critical for every business owner and manager. Here are three solid steps to shore up your online defenses.
1. Improve User Authentication Protocols
Authentication programs are what allow a computer system to recognize that you are who you say you are. At its most basic level, this identification is done through passwords and username credentials. Unfortunately, this isn't enough to stop the attacks of the most advanced hackers and malicious programs.
A good solution to this is multi-factor authentication. This means utilizing multiple layers of evidence to prove that a person's access to any given account is legitimate. Think of it as the difference between hiding your valuables in your house with a locked door and hiding your valuables in a safe inside a hidden compartment within your locked house. In an online context, this added depth of security can take the form of requiring answers to personal questions that only that individual could possibly know, or phone-based QR codes. Even personal biometrics like thumbprints and facial recognition software have moved from science fiction to reality.
2. Clarify Security Practices
No company's security system is good enough to make up for a lack of respect for security practices by employees. This doesn't have to be due to maliciousness, just a lack of knowledge regarding the hows and whys of security protocol. Most employees aren't security experts themselves; for example, at a design company, the thinkers will mostly be focused on creative endeavors, not technical prowess.
The solution is to keep things simple. Email is still the top form of communication in business, so begin there. Hackers often attack systems using what's called a "phishing scam," where they attach malware to innocent-looking email attachments. Tell your employees to never open emails from unknown senders. Also, make sure that they don't use their business email as a personal email, especially if they intend to subscribe to mailing lists or other potentially insecure sites.
In an age where many people are working from home, it's also wise to make sure that everyone in your corporate network has up-to-date antivirus programs installed on whatever computer they work from. With just a little awareness, human error doesn't have to lead to a security nightmare.
3. Back Up Your Data
Yes, backing up data can be time-consuming and tedious, and so people in the business world often simply don't bother. After all, why duplicate data that's already there? The answers are obvious. Systems crashes can and do happen. Even the most expensive computer network is prone to failure for reasons as complicated as an electronic attack or as simple as a thunderstorm.
Backup recovery failures are distressingly common, however, so there's definitely an art to the business of backing up data. For starters, make multiple backups in case one fails or gets erased. It's also a good idea to automate and regularize the process, having automatic backups planned for regular intervals. The peace of mind alone is worth the effort.
Global online commerce sales are expected to top $6.5 trillion by the year 2023. This massive growth of online business volume represents an amazing opportunity for prosperity, but also an irresistible target for people who want to steal some of that profit for themselves. Finding the most effective digital security solution is becoming more vital than ever. The good news is that advancement in security techniques is keeping pace, giving business owners a plethora of options with which to defend their hard-won dreams.