Security remains a top concern for small business owners across the country, whether they're trying to safeguard their physical stores or keep digital thieves from targeting their online sites.
Cyber security should be among small business owners' top priorities moving into the new quarter. Whether you're looking to protect your online assets or ensure your customers' transactions are completely secure, keep these tips in mind as you're amending your virtual strategy.
1. Complicate your password
A-B-C may be as easy as 1-2-3, but your password should be difficult to guess and regularly shifting. Many people prefer using passwords that can be easily remembered for the sake of saving a few seconds during the login process, but these simple keys can seriously harm your brand. You want to pick a password that others won't easily be able to guess - like "password" or "123456."
And while it may seem like a pain to remember, adding capital letters and numbers to your password has a serious impact on how secure your accounts are. These added measures make it more difficult for people to guess or access your codes, as they greatly vary the number of potential passwords.
2. Limit employee access
How many staff members have access to the back end of your website? Does each employee know the password to the site that deals with customer interactions?
It's best practice to ensure more than one person at your company can access these sites, but once those passwords start spreading, your risk of compromising your online assets increases. Shift passwords regularly to keep former workers from having access to sensitive information. Additionally, carefully monitor which people have access to your digital resources.
3. Backup your data
Stealing information isn't the only way hackers can negatively impact your online assets. Viruses or cyber threats often compromise your data, causing information to become damaged or destroyed. It's imperative that you regularly backup data to external hard drives or another safe place. This way, if any information gets altered during a cyber attack, your data will remain intact.
4. Use the cloud for storage
How much of your information is in the cloud? While you may be hesitant to trust all your data in the floating realms of cyberspace, the cloud is actually quite secure - if you use it correctly. Breaches and hacks can happen to anyone, but trusting a secure cloud host can drastically reduce your business' chances of experiencing devastating loss. Conduct your research on the cloud before you upload, but don't hesitate to take advantage of this valuable resource.
5. Have an emergency action plan
Preventing hackers from attacking your brand is one thing, but knowing how to handle a cyber threat is another entirely. Creating a well-researched action plan can have a profound impact on how much information is lost and how quickly it gets recovered. Designate certain employees to help deal with cyber attacks, giving each a specific job as you assess the damage. Informing your consumers in a timely and efficient manner is key, so be sure to have email templates in place.