6 Important Small Business Cybersecurity Tips
You might think twice before entering your credit card information to buy something online, keep an eye out for malicious links in email, and keep your PC updated to protect against viruses, spyware, and hackers.
But how much thought have you put into your small business data security and protecting customer information?
Hope a lot, because according to Microsoft:
• Attackers reside on the network for an average of 146 days before being detected
• The average cost of a business data breach is $3.8 million
• The total cost of cybercrime to the global community in 2016 was $500 billion
• 63% of attacks were the result of compromised user passwords and usernames
As these threats continue to become more sophisticated, so must the legislation. ]
In Canada, many government departments, including the Department of Justice, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada and Global Affairs Canada, work with international, federal and provincial law enforcement agencies to combat cybercrime.
That’s fine, but you want to stop any potential attacks before your customers’ data security is compromised!
And, if you think your site is too small to attract hackers, think again. Sometimes cybercriminals do not intend to collect sensitive content but to forward spam from your server.
Let’s take a membership site as an example to learn about these small business cybersecurity tips.
Membership sites provide specific resources for members who typically pay a one-time or recurring fee to access content such as videos, ebooks, articles or tutorials.
As people enter sensitive information such as email addresses, passwords, and payment information to access My Content, we need to be vigilant about how we protect them from online threats. (A secure website is also more likely to earn trust, which in turn can drive revenue.)
To help keep your customers’ data safe, I recommend that you:
1. Choose a reputable web host. Don’t just go for the cheapest! I’ve compiled a list of web hosting providers that I recommend; you can check them out here.
2. Install an SSL certificate on your website. This means using HTTPS and HTTP in the URL. This is a prefix to your URL, and SSL provides extra security and makes it harder for hackers to access.
You can usually add this service to your web hosting package for free or for a small fee. An added bonus: A secure website can actually rank higher in Google.
3. As soon as you see a new software update, install it immediately. Many membership sites are built with WordPress, all you have to do is click the “Update Now” button. This helps prevent cybercriminals from exploiting security holes in older versions.
Likewise, look for plugins to help manage online safety.
4. Enforce complex passwords. Require or even require users to create passwords using a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. This will prevent people from using “12345” as a password.
You can also install a plugin on your WordPress site that only gives them a few attempts to log in before they get locked out.
5. Approve comments manually. Spammers love unattended comments! They can post links there that a) can bring traffic back to their site, and b) can trick Google (no matter how briefly) into thinking their site has valuable content.
6. Clean up information that is no longer relevant. Former members, people who canceled, people who completed courses… delete as much user information and payment information as possible.
By following these small business online security tips, you can minimize the risk of your website becoming the target of scammers or cybercriminals.
By not cutting corners when it comes to protecting customer information, you can create a safe space for loyal fans who are willing to hand over personal and payment information.
Of course, there are more components to maintaining a secure website.
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