For as long as the internet has been around there have been news articles about breaches in the security of some of the biggest online businesses. Yahoo has been exposed more than once, Snapchat has been breached, Target and Neiman Marcus have been attacked, all of which clarify one thing; data security is an everyday issue for every business, no matter how big or small your operations.
To put it in a more accessible and understandable way, it has been reported that over 74% of all online businesses – globally – have been subjected to some form of a security breach in the past year alone. That is enough to make even the most steadfast wobble and panic about whether anything online is truly safe. But they aren’t. Not really. After all, no one can be 100% protected from hackers, phishing or malware. One of the leading voices in cyber attacks, GO-Gulf, estimates there are over 721 million cybercrime victims every year, of which 40% of those victims were targeted by motivations of theft.
Of course, big business is the ablest to protect their sensitive data and internal systems because they have the money and resource available to them. But what if you are a small online business, a small business that specializes in developing WordPress websites or something? Well, there are a series of small and simple measures that can be taken to better protect your and your business from a breach.
People Still Don’t Take Passwords Seriously
It is still the weakest link in the chain. Cross-application password access has allowed hackers to successful breach multiple platforms and accounts that use the same passwords. Inter-locking accounts via things like Facebook login have given attackers an area to focus on. This is especially common as widgets among website developers, such as those that use WordPress or Wix or any other web building tool. As such, it is important you – as a business – not only try and encourage your employees to use complex passwords that link to a secondary account for administrator access but to also encourage your users to do the same. The easy option is of course to have a single login system, but the risks are so much higher when this is used.
Another great tip is to lie when it comes to your security questions. Social engineering is an effective method used by cyber attackers and hackers and one that is easy to implement too. It could be that they come across your Facebook profile, on which there is a picture of your dog, Flint, and a comment from your divorced mother, Petra Gordon. In just these two things they could have the name of your first pet and your mother’s maiden name, and that is enough to get access to almost any system. As such, we recommend you lie on your answers to avoid this kind of breach. The internet is a fountain of knowledge, which will allow someone to find out your city of birth, your grandparents names, what schools you went to etc.
It Is Worth Encrypting
Sure, there is an inconvenience to be had from this, especially if you are concentrating on the encryption of individual – and important – files because a red flag tends to be raised by the email provider, but that extra hassle now is worth it in the long run. This could be the encryption of sensitive data, individual documents, entire programs, certain apps, or sharing methods. It doesn’t matter. What does is that you do and that you know how and where encryption will best protect your business or services.
Have The Right Software In Place
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To put it bluntly, 50% of cyber attacks include the use of malware. That is why it is so important you buy, install and maintain sophisticated anti-virus software on your devices and your online business. If you don’t understand this area of protection and security, then it is worth speaking to experts in this area, such as those similar to the DMCA takedown service. The reason it is wise to use a managed service for this is that their business is built on their expertise, and that requires them to be up to date with the methods of hackers and what the latest – and strongest – protection software is. They will also be able to tailor them to your needs, So, if you are a small business – or a freelancing individual that designs WordPress websites – they will be able to bespoke their offering specifically for your needs.
Another thing that is always worth considering on this front is your smartphone. This is an area that is under an increasing amount of threat from the morally corrupt. Your phone is now the most used technological device in all households and businesses, and yet the least protected. That is why it is imperative to always install the latest software updates, apps and browsers, because each will have improved security software.
Your WiFi Is At Risk Too
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All most all small business owners, and those that work from home, never change their wi-fi settings away from the default options that came with their systems and their router. This is a huge risk to your personal and professional operations because it leaves your wifi open to breaches from hackers in the surrounding areas.
As such, we recommend you change your settings so that you start using the WPA2 option. The reason for this is it is the most secure of the lot. Of course, it will not be enough to stop a determined and experienced hacker from breaching your system, but it will prevent anyone local that is simply trying their luck.
Another tip that may benefit a small business person, or freelancer, using the Wi-Fi in a public place is the idea of using a VPN. This is a virtual private network application that cleverly uses a public hotspot to disguise certain weak links, such as passwords and sensitive information.