Would i be wrong if i say the internet has become an integral part of our lives? the coming of the internet has driven success to both entrepreneurs and online businesses as they are now able to attract more customers and grow revenue through digital marketing.
As the internet evolves and more consumers get connected, so also have the threats associated with online businesses leveraging the power of the internet to grow and also to online reputation of individuals.
Presently, internet security strategies has increasingly become priority for businesses and organizations looking to retain their reputation, avoid security hacks and sustain competitive growth.
This has led to various adaptive security measures and huge investments to preempt threats and plug loop holes to maintain integrity of business or personal information.
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Every business must maintain a secure environment to avoid compromising relevant information from cyber-attacks.
High-speed Internet, laptop devices along with web-based tools and digital applications are now making online businesses more productive than ever.
But all that competence can come at a rigid price if your website, financial information, social media accounts, business or customer data fall victim to hackers.
The Internet allows businesses of all sizes and from any location to reach new and larger markets and provides opportunities to work more efficiently by using computer-based tools.
Whether a business is thinking of adopting cloud computing or just using email and maintaining a website, cyber security should be a part of the plan.
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There is a growing number of stories relating to cyber-attacks on vital business and organizational data online.
According to some experts, cyber crime now costs the global economy about $400 billion annually and with this alarming statistics, some internet based businesses are taking this threat very likely.
The fact is, cyber criminals are each day evolving and becoming more advanced by hatching new threats with different strategies on ways to attack networks and an information systems which means we all have to constantly stay alert.
Every business that uses the Internet is responsible for creating a culture of security that will enhance business and consumer confidence.
In October 2012, the FCC re-launched the Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cyber security plans.
In the remaining part of this post, i will be telling you more on the how to prevent cyber attackers from destroying your online business and reputation while sustaining competitive growth.
Organize training for your staff in digital security
This is your first line of defense if you really want to guard against cyber hackers. The most important thing is that you have your team of staff know what it really means to hack your data base and also the methods they can ensure to avoid any form of hack.
This should be a fundamental training on the basics of online security. Most especially, you should continue to organize training sessions for your IT team members to keep them abreast with recent developments and ways they can continuously fight against these cyber criminals and protect online businesses from any hazards.
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If by any chance you do not have an IT team of staff, you can employ the professional expertise of reputable organizations who are well equipped to help you manage your website and other vital information.
The truth is, you might feel that will cost you more but which is better; to lose vital information in your data base or spend to ensure you never fall prey to such an ordeal? The choice is yours to make.
The unfortunate thing about missing such vital data is that, you will not only lose the data but you will have your top guarded information in the hands of unknown persons thereby having to lose customer confidence in you. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine.
Update your system
When you think about hacking, the first remedy that strikes your mind should be update. Updating your security software, web browsers and operating systems are suppose to be at the top of your priority list if you really want to prevent being involved in any form of cyber attack.
This simple step is the best cover against viruses, malware and other online threats that are constantly changing. Install key software updates as soon as they are available and set antivirus software to run a scan after each update.
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Don’t forget, security companies have teams working around the clock to continually develop cyber security software’s; so they keep up with new potential threats that could cause harm.
This means no one should be taking chances of any sort when it comes to protecting online business reputation and customers vital information from cyber attacks.
Always backup your data
I personally have had a little crash just because I neglected having to backup. Let me start up with a little story.
I was working on a post which was suppose to go live by 8am the following day, saved as usual but on getting to the office the next day, I couldn’t find the document. And the only thing i thought of was if i had only backed it up.
You shouldn’t wait for the time to start a pity party before you think of backing up, it should be a matter of necessity as you will have those documents stored in safe place for retrieval at any given point in time. You can have more than one backup plan, it isn’t a bad idea either.
Critical data includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files and accounts receivable or payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or on cloud.
That’s the safest step to take in other to avoid losing the whole of your data without having them saved anywhere for later use or reference.
For this reason, important company information should be backed-up on an offline server. Of course, this carries its own security risks and should be kept in a safe location with limited physical and digital access.
Prevent access to your systems by unauthorized users
Control any form of physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each person who you deem necessary to gain access to such information in your organisation.
This will help you monitor and know the number of people who actually have access to your company data base to prevent any frictions.
Preventing use of business computers by unauthorized individuals will pay you more because you have a restriction and specific accounts that can gain access to valuable information.
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Certain classified business information’s are to be kept properly in case of any eventuality and administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel’s. This is to ensure that they are adequately protected.
Also, laptops can be particularly an easy target for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended.
Use software from trusted developers for online businesses
Be careful with installing software by unknown developers as they could potentially expose you to serious security threats. Only purchase software through verified marketplaces and developers and do not install any illegal software on your devices.
Be very careful when it comes too hacked or cracked software, aside that using cracked software is illegal, it could also open a backdoor to your system.
Often, hacked or cracked software uses a small software program to bypass security, the same program could be used to bypass your own security.
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Not sure if you want particular software, try to borrow it from a friend or see if there is an official demo available if you have an online business it is simply not worth the risk.
Many security breaches happen because of poor password choices. The most common mistakes in password security are using easily discover-able personal information as passwords, having the same password for multiple types of accounts can be a real threat to online businesses.
A secure password should incorporate some certain features that cannot be easily guessed. Hence, you can probably make use of capital letters and numbers in-between to create a distinctive password.
Employees can also be advised to change their passwords seldomly.
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Passwords should never be written down or exchanged with anyone you might not know who is a potential threat to your organisations security.
Employ best practices on payment cards
Security is an essential and integral part of online businesses as it is the only way you can be protected from cyber threats. So, for most online businesses that require payment via credit cards are expected to keep a close working relationship with banks.
This is majorly to ensure that you are using the most trusted and validated tools and make sure anti- fraud services are used to protect your business reputation.
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No one will want to give his or her credit card information to a business who has a consistent record of cyber credit card theft.
Use complicated passwords
Passwords and password protection are vital when it comes to your online security. There are multiple variances you can use to create a working password.
This could range from using only alphabets to using numbers or even integrating both to form your password.
I norm i have noticed is, most people prefer to use the same password all through their accounts due to the fact that it is actually easier to recall than having multiple passwords for several accounts. I might want to agree with these sect of people because i also have issues remembering multiple passwords.
So i will say, using the same password all through your account isn’t really a good idea as it makes it easy to hack your account.
For those who really have difficulties in recalling all their numerous passwords, there is a problem solver; the password manager which allows you use very strong and distinct passwords for your different accounts. These passwords will be saved in encrypted files which means, without encryption key, your passwords are safe.
Weak passwords can mean that your accounts are easier to hack and your data can be compromised. A duplicate password makes this even worse, a hacker now only has to hack one password to access several accounts.
In other words, they might be able to not only hack your email but also your WordPress installation and affiliate accounts. Which could seriously cripple online businesses.
For online businesses, passwords are even more important than for the average internet user. Your passwords protect your livelihood and everything that you have worked so hard for. Imagine the damage that you and your business could be exposed to in case something happens.
Security is not a thing to play catch-up with, be sure to enforce the right things for your business.
Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
Like you have a wall with fire burning on each side, am sure you know no one can scale through that fence and for anyone who tries it, that person will sure end up in the hospital.
Therefore, same as a flaming wall, the firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders or unauthorized persons from accessing data on a private network.
Security involves a whole lot of time, money and sacrifice. So getting another software to ensure your business reputation is not dented is worth it.
Ensure that your operating system’s firewall is enabled or installed. Moreover, there are free firewall software available online for download.
Make sure every computers and laptop’s that will convey vital information should be adequately put in-check and protected with firewall to avoid any form of cyber attack.
Online businesses, organisations and companies continually face threats from cyber attacks and no business is immune to data theft and loss despite the size of your business, geographical location or sector; any system can be hacked.
The point is, you should put this tips into action and you will be able to save yourself the stress of starting from the scratch after losing data.
All you need to do is consistently make sure your data base is highly secured and you can just go to sleep.
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