Nowadays, almost every business operates online and even those that don’t, still have some kind of online presence. The digital world offers many benefits to all kinds of businesses, such as selling your products or services on the Internet, communicating with millions of people worldwide at the same time, and many more. However, as convenient the online world can be, it’s full of various threats that can be hazardous to online business operations.  

As a matter of fact, cyber threats have evolved over the years and have become quite sophisticated recently. That’s why cybersecurity is one of the most important concerns for online businesses. What’s more, even a single security breach can ruin your business reputation, as well as end your business operations entirely. With that in mind, it’s of the utmost importance to have proper cybersecurity measures in place in order to both protect your business and your customers. Here are a few of the best practices to keep your online business safe.

Utilize security software

Cyber threats can be found all over the Internet. Most of the time, they’re disguised as harmless applications, software, files, and even emails. If you don’t have proper security software in place to detect them, there’s no way of knowing that your security has been breached or a chance to prevent malicious software from harming your system. Security software, such as anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-phishing can greatly minimize the risks of cyberattacks and security breaches.

Still, a lot of businesses oftentimes avoid implementing security software in order to save money. This is especially true for startups and small businesses that struggle to make a breakthrough on the market. However, security software licenses don’t cost too much and purchasing them won’t leave a huge dent in your budget. Moreover, a lot of software comes with a free license, which can provide a sufficient level of security as it is.

Implement stronger passwords

Passwords are the most essential aspect of your cybersecurity. The more complex the password, the more difficult it is to crack it. Still, a large number of people – business owners included – prefer to utilize passwords that are short and simple, such as “password” or “1234”. The main reason people do this is that it’s easy to remember and simple to use. However, hackers don’t even have to break a sweat to crack such passwords, they can simply guess them.

If you want to protect your business account from breaches, you’ll need stronger passwords. By definition, a strong password contains at least 8 characters, although it’s recommended that it should be 12 to 18 characters long. Furthermore, a strong password must contain upper- and lower-case letters, as well as a combination of numeric, special character, punctuation, and spaces. But above all, never use the same password twice.

Install SSL Certificate

Besides strong passwords, a strong online security is required because if a strong password is shared on a plain HTTP website then, a cyber culprit can sniff it and misuse it. It is better to have an cheap SSL certificate to protect online information sharing between the server and users. However, there is free SSL for a limited time available, but it is wise to go with a paid version as it brings many benefits on your desk. In SSL certificates, a public key is used to encode the data while the private key is used to decode the information.

Restrict employee access to information

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is allowing everyone within the organization unlimited access to information. Employees who have access to confidential information may unintentionally misuse sensitive data or share it with someone who can abuse the information. In fact, around 60% of cyberattacks are indeed successful due to some sort of data leak from within an organization.

That’s why access to company information needs to be restricted and employees must only have access to data needed to successfully do their job. Moreover, you need to have a strict security policy in place that will educate employees on the latest security measures, such as what types of emails to ignore or what not to share on social media. Also, make sure you use multi-factor authentication to manage your business accounts. That way, you’ll always know if someone is trying to use your login credentials without authorization.

Backup your data regularly

Data backups are highly important for every organization that operates in the online world. The main reason is that you can restore important information and your business operations to their previous state in case something goes wrong. In most cases, data backups serve to protect businesses in case of system crashes or physical data loss, such as natural disasters. However, data backups can also protect you in case of cyberattacks.

For instance, if your business is unable to continue operation because your server has been infected by malicious software, you can simply restore it to the state previous to the breach. Make sure that you store backups on remote devices, such as a cloud or external hard drives. That way, you can ensure data safety outside your office space.

Cybersecurity needs to be an integral part of every online business. Not only can proper security measures protect your data, but they can also protect your business from hackers who wish to breach your security.

Posted by jolene rutheford