A decade ago, we would associate the idea of a security breach with a physical theft or burglary; perhaps someone robbing a bank or stealing things from a lorry – whereas today, the majority of serious crime is taking place online.
Cyber terrorism and online crime is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society – with anything from credit card cloning and identity theft to hackers targeting large organisations such as Uber and the NHS.
When it comes to an online business, it doesn’t really matter what you are selling – be it an information product such as an online course or something more physical like caterpillar parts for heavy machinery; there’s an undeniable need to protect your business from possible breaches.
In this article, we’re going to look at five principles to follow in order to keep your business (and your customers) safe.
1. KEEP EVERYTHING UNDER LOCK AND KEY
If you had physical premises you wouldn’t protect it with a tiny little padlock – you would have a strong, secure and robust lock. In the online world, this lock and key is your password… so choosing an advanced password will help protect you. Similarly, in a physical business you wouldn’t have the same key to unlock each door – and that’s why you should consider using different passwords for each application.
Try not to use the same password for each account and use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols in order to optimise the strength of your password.
2. HAVE SURVEILLANCE IN PLACE
The majority of stores have security cameras and security guards, in part to act as a deterrent, but also to catch people that shouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Just like anti-virus software can protect your computer in a similar way, you want to make sure you have adequate protection against hackers trying to violate your website.
3. BACK UP
This point can’t be overstated. Make back-ups of important files! It’s often not until we learn the hard way, after having lost our date due to malfunction or theft, that we start to backup our files on a regular basis! There are now so many options to backup files… anything from “The Cloud” (i.e. Google Drive) to external hard drives. It is highly recommended to keep a copy of all your crucial files in the cloud, to give you the peace of mind that your most precious data will still be safe even in the event of a disaster.
4. USE A CREDIBLE PAYMENT PROVIDER
This one’s pretty simple and obvious; you’ll want to use a reputable payment system such as PayPal or Stripe to collect payments. In part, because this gives customers a feeling of reassurance but also because it protects your business too.
5. DON’T GIVE EVERYONE KEYS
Given the amount of freelancers and remote workers many online business owners utilise via websites such as freelancer.com, you’ll want to make sure that not everyone is given the keys to your business – in the sense of passwords etc. You can set permissions on most documents… and particularly when it comes to freelancers who live in a different country, that you haven’t met before… don’t be tempted to give your credit card details in order to speed up the purchase of necessary items on your behalf.