The serious job of protecting customer information
6 Important Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses
You’ll most likely think twice before entering your credit card information online to buy something, watch out for malicious links in emails, and keep your PC up-to-date against viruses, spyware, and hackers.
However, how much do you think about the security of your small business data and the protection of customer information?
Hopefully a lot, because according to Microsoft:
• An attacker resides within a network for an average of 146 days before detection
• The average cost of a data breach to a business is $3.8 million.
• The total cost of cybercrime to the global community in 2016 was $500 billion.
• 63 percent of attacks are the result of compromised passwords and usernames
As these threats continue to become more sophisticated, the law must too. ]
In Canada, many government departments, such as the Department of Justice, RCMP, Public Safety Canada, and Global Affairs Canada, work in conjunction with international, federal, and provincial law enforcement agencies against cybercrime.
That’s great, but you want to stop any potential attacks before the security of your customer data is breached!
And if you’re thinking your site is too small to attract hackers, think again. Sometimes the intention of a cybercriminal is not to collect sensitive content, but to transmit spam emails from your server.
Let’s use the example of a membership site for these cyber security tips for small businesses.
A membership website has specific resources available to members who typically pay a one-time or recurring fee for content such as videos, eBooks, articles, or tutorials.
Because people enter sensitive information like email addresses, passwords, and payment information to access my content, we need to be vigilant about how we keep them safe from online threats. (A secure site is also more likely to gain trust, which in turn can increase revenue.)
To help safeguard the security of your customers’ data, I suggest that you:
one. Choose a reputable web host. Do not stay only with the cheapest! I have compiled a list of web hosting providers that I recommend; You can see it here.
2. Install an SSL certificate on your site. This means having HTTPS vs. HTTP in the URL. This is the prefix for your web address, and SSL provides additional security and makes it more difficult for hackers to access.
You can often add this service to your web hosting package for free or for a small cost. An added bonus: a secure site can actually rank higher on Google.
3. As soon as you see a new software update, install it. Many membership sites are built into WordPress, allowing you to simply click the ‘Upgrade Now’ button. This helps prevent cybercriminals from taking advantage of security flaws in earlier versions.
Similarly, look for plugins to help manage online security.
Four. Apply complex passwords. Require or even require users to create passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. This will cause people to use ‘12345’ as their password.
You can also install a plugin on your WordPress site that only gives someone several attempts to log in before they get locked out.
5. Manually approve comments. Spammers love unexpected comments! They can post links there that a) can drive traffic back to your site and b) can trick Google (even briefly) into thinking your site has valuable content.
6. Clean up information that is no longer relevant. Past members, people who have cancelled, those who have completed their course… delete user information and payment information as often as you can.
By following these small business cybersecurity tips, you can minimize the risk of your website being targeted by scammers or cybercriminals.
Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to protecting customer information, and you can create a safe space for loyal fans who are comfortable handing over their personal and payment information.
Of course, there are many more components to keeping a website secure.