Merchant Advance Blog

Blog Article: Tips to Keep Your Small Business Digitally Secure

Cyberattacks: Not Just A Big Business Problem

The rise of e-commerce has allowed small business owners to open the scope of their markets wider than ever before, but there are many potential downsides to shifting to online-centric models. One of these is the increased vulnerability to security compromises and hacking: as we have seen in recent years, even mega-sized corporations are not immune to the effects of cyberattacks. The damage done by a digital security breach can affect businesses large or small, but don’t be deterred from the potential gains you could make from integrating e-commerce into your business: following some key guidelines and best practices for digital security will keep your business safe from an online smash-and-grab.

 

Stay Updated

Using the latest generation of important software, operating systems, and other digital tools will help you stay secure in the long run. As a version ages, the likelihood that security exploits might be punched through it increases dramatically over time. If your software supports automatic updates, make sure to take full advantage of them. Also, talk to your hardware providers for items like point-of-sale systems, which can often be targeted as points of entry for data theft schemes and fraudulent “skimming” or “phishing” attacks.

Build A Wall

No, not that kind of wall… a firewall! Your firewall is the first line of defense against an online attack. Which firewalls should you chose? Network World has many reviews that will help you identify a product that fits your needs. You can supplement the power of your firewall with any number of anti-malware programs that block nefarious attacks through web portals.

Two Is Better Than One

When it comes to your security, having two authentication steps can be better than just one. If you’re a Gmail user, you know how this works: when you sign in on a new computer, Google will send you a text message with a second authorization code to use after your regular password. You can set up multiple factors for authenticating the services that are most critical to your business’ information needs.

Take A Byte Out Of Crime

Encrypt your computer hard drives and email attachments. Windows, macOS (was OS X) and Linux all provide disk volume encryption support and should your laptop or desktop get stolen, disk encryption is going to make getting into your files really, really hard. Current versions of Windows (Vista or later) and MacOS include tools for encryption, free of charge, as part of their operating system suites. However, there are also third party encryption options available that will allow greater customization.

Go Retro

All the digital security in the world will be a moot point if you don’t effectively control access to your premises. Could a thief break in and make a break for it with your computer? Consider the security of your devices, from desktops to phones left charging on desks, to any other potential point of access, from a decidedly un-digital perspective in order to lower the risk of digital information compromises. Keep track of the personnel to whom keys are issued, keep critical backups in a secure location, and make sure you’re up to date with security policies in the building you occupy.

And of course, if you’re able, talk to a professional IT management service. The investment can be worthwhile, but it depends on your business’ volume of digital transactions and how complex your data is to manage. As with all business investments, it comes down to the cost of the solution compared to the cost in time it will take you to manage it on your own!

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