Why is cybersecurity so important for online businesses? Over 80 percent of businesses have experienced a data breach. The risk is increased for online businesses as a majority of their dealings happen over the web.
In this treacherous time where our digital data is at risk, it’s important for online business owners to learn essential cybersecurity strategies. Here are six cybersecurity policies that will help defend your online business:
No. 1 - Protect yourself from viruses
Running an online business means you’re vulnerable to innumerable digital threats. Bots and other binary criminals will try to gain access to your website, your systems, and your data. Just because you have an SSL certificate for your company website doesn’t mean you’re safe from haughty hackers.
Running trusted anti-virus software can help you prevent nasty spyware, malicious code, and unscrupulous scripts from affecting your business. Be sure to utilize them to make your website as safe as possible.
Use security extensions if you’re using WordPress to host your site. These trusty tools can be used in conjunction with premium anti-virus software for your networks and your systems. Every CMS (or content management system) comes loaded with security features.
No. 2 - Update your site and look for patches
No website is perfect. The software that’s used to build it isn’t perfect. There’s always areas hackers can exploit to gain access, deny service, or steal precious data.
Website security is evolving, but so too are hackers. Even with the most secure software products, there is still a risk that malicious actors will find nefarious and ingenious ways to capitalize on faults.
Updating your website, your content management system, and your company devices is of the utmost importance. Newly-minted patches can have security updates packaged within them. You won’t want to miss out on these important updates.
No. 3 - Track website traffic for suspicious activity
Monitoring the website for your online business is key, especially if you run an e-commerce site. You want to spot suspicious activity as soon as you possibly can.
Security extensions for WordPress sites can help you monitor this type of activity. In fact, you can receive regular updates on any and all activity on your website, including admin login attempts.
You can also request help from an outside cybersecurity agency, who can monitor your website as well as your professional networks, devices, and systems. If you’re tight on cash, you don’t have to fret, though. There are myriad security extensions and software programs that track activity and report troubling behavior.
No. 4 - Secure your networks
Every business, whether click-and-mortar or traditional, must secure their networks. This is especially true if you’re using WiFi networks, which are much less secure than Ethernet connections, for example.
Set up virtual private networks (or VPNs) to make sure that you have end-to-end security. With virtual private networks, all connections are secure and encrypted. It essentially acts as a private network that’s shared over a public one. Transferring data is much safer when you use a VPN.
No. 5 - Create strong usernames and passwords
Are you keeping your passwords in an Excel sheet? Are you using your child’s birthday for every single password? Do you begrudge changing your passwords? It may not be fun, but adopting the recommended password policies is an absolute must, especially for business owners.
Use password managers to generate, store, and change your passwords at will. With password managers, there is no excuse. All passwords sit in an encrypted file so you won’t have to worry about hackers stealing information through password managers.
Passwords are only half of the equation. Make sure to make non-obvious usernames as well. For example, your login for the website admin should never be ‘admin.’ Malicious scripts will try to break into your website with obvious usernames and passwords.
No. 6 - Backup files must be kept secure
You never know what you could lose from an unexpected breach. Be sure to backup all of your files on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
A hacker could easily go in and delete important files. Sometimes a devastating breach like this is unavoidable. Prepare for the worst by backing up all of your files as often as you can.
Don’t forget that your backups could be at risk, too. Keep these backups on a secure, encrypted disk so that your backups are safe from digital ne’er-do-wells.
Online business owners have to take the future of their online safety into their own hands. In this epoch, hacking can end your business’s ruination.
Protect yourself from viruses like Trojans by leveraging anti-virus extensions, plugins, and software programs. Be sure to keep everything up-to-date, from your website CMS version to your anti-virus software. Use third-party security tools so you can keep a lookout for suspicious behavior. These strategies, when used together with the recommended password and username policies, will help keep your website clean.
Businesses of every size must also secure their networks. Set up VPNs to make every connection to your network secure and private.
If you are a victim of a data breach, you can recover quickly with secure backup files. As long as you back up your files on a regular basis, you won’t suffer any irretrievable losses.
Greg Robinson is a tech entrepreneur.