If your business operates at all online, it’s essential that you take steps to protect it. There are unfortunately malicious actors out there who will try to gain access to your systems and do damage to your business. There is, on average, a hacker attack every 39 seconds, and 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses. You don’t want to wake up one morning to realize that you can no longer access your website or that private customer data was stolen. To make major issues like these less likely to happen, there are a few simple things you can do. Below are five tips you can use to keep your business safe online.
To make major issues like these less likely to happen, there are a few simple things you can do. Below are five tips you can use to keep your business safe online.
Implement Strong Passwords
One of the best things you can do is implement strong passwords throughout your business. One study found that 81% of company data breaches were simply due to weak passwords. Anything you use on the internet that requires a password – such as logging into your website, your social media accounts, or your customer database – should have a strong password that’s hard to crack. To make a secure password, it should contain:
- Both letters and numbers
- Uppercase and lowercase letters
- Special characters like &*! and?
Your password should also be at least eight characters long. A complicated password like this is much harder to figure out, but it’s even harder to remember. That’s why it’s a good idea to store your different passwords in a secure location. There are several password storing tools available that can keep all your passwords in one place. Just remember to give your password protection tool a secure password of its own; otherwise, you open yourself up to risk again.
Limit Access to the Right People
Having a strong password doesn’t help too much if everyone knows what it is. Another importance security practice to put into place is limiting access to files and folders to only those people who need them. For example, only people working in your marketing department need access to your Twitter password. The fewer people that have a password to something, the less likely it is that a mistake occurs. This also makes it easier to change passwords should you need to let one of your employees go.
Steams Online allows you to grant or revoke access to your company’s information based on the employee access level. If you’re a Steams Online user, you can access this capability by going to Setting Settings > User management.
Sometimes, the biggest risk to your business isn’t outside actors; it’s simple mistakes by your employees. By limiting who can access different files, you limit the potential number of errors. This will keep your business safer while still allowing everyone to do their jobs.
Perform Regular Software Updates
New viruses and malware are created all the time. To keep yourself protected, it’s important that you perform regular software updates to any programs you’re using, particularly anti-virus programs. We’ve all been there – that notification pops up, asking us to update software, and we keep putting it off until later. However, the more you delay, the more at risk you and your business are. So, the next time you need to update a piece of software, you should do it as soon as you can.
Have the Right Security Certificate
When you visit a website, you can see on the left side of the URL, whether that website is secure. To keep yourself safe online, you should only visit secure websites. This means that if you want to protect anyone who visits your website, you need to have the correct security certificate.
A website’s security certificate secures the data that goes back and forth between anyone viewing the site and where it is stored. Most hosting providers will offer these security certificates as a part of their packaging, but you should check to make sure yours has it. If you do not, then anyone entering sensitive data on your website is at risk.
For more information on security certificates, visit this guide.
Know-How to Spot a Scam
Finally, you and everyone else in your business should know how to spot a scam. Perpetrators looking to gain access to your business have become adept at tricking people into giving up their private information through sophisticated scams.
For example, let’s say you open up your email one day, and you have an email from your accountant. The email says there’s an error with the credit card information you provided and asks if you could send it over again. You send it over without questions and go on with your day. Later, when you see your accountant in person, you ask if everything went okay with the new card information. They respond that they don’t know what you’re talking about and never sent any email.
Now you go back to the original email you received and look more closely. Upon inspection, you see that the email address you got the email from is just slightly different than your accountant’s actual address. A hacker was able to learn your accountant’s name, create a similar email address, and get your credit card information.
These types of scams happen all the time. Hackers will make realistic looking, but fake, websites and ask you to log in, only to record your login information. By learning how to spot a scam, and making sure your employees do the same, you can keep your business safe online.
Some things to look for are:
- The email address of anyone asking for personal or business information, such as account numbers, passwords, or customer information
- The web address of any links included within emails. Make sure you’re on the correct website before entering any personal information
You should also double-check the email address of anyone sending you an attachment. If you don’t recognize the address, don’t download anything. Often these downloads contain malicious viruses or malware.
For more information on how to spot a scam online, you can check out this guide.
Make Online Safety a Priority
Having your business hacked is a costly experience. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid all potential security threats, you can at least take steps to give yourself the best protection possible. Take some time to implement the above security measures, then make sure everyone in your business follows them. Your business’s security is only as strong as its weakest link, so make this a company-wide goal for the best protection.