The pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in the number of businesses and customers online. According to Kommando Tech, the 1.92 billion online consumers in 2019 is set to reach at least 2 billion by 2021. Meanwhile, there are currently at least 20 million online businesses as of 2020, and this number is still increasing every day. Whether you are new to the online world or an established player, one of your priorities right now should be cybersecurity.
Why protect your online business?
When you protect your online business, you protect yourself as well. You prevent privacy breaches that can hurt your business and individuals related to it, whether it’s your employees, customers, or yourself. It builds and maintains loyalty and trust among your customers and investors. It even increases physical safety as well, as sensitive information such as addresses and phone numbers won’t be accessible to just anyone.
Threats that online businesses face
Hackers now have more targets with many owners taking their businesses online, and the larger the company, the more likely it is to be targeted. The most major hacks in 2020 listed by ZDNet show that even companies that have been online for a long time still need to improve their cybersecurity. “Data breaches, network infiltrations, bulk data theft and sale, identity theft, and ransomware outbreaks have all occurred over 2020 and the underground market shows no signs of stopping.” Online businesses should be watching out for and improving the protection of their systems to keep any damage to a minimum.
How to protect your online business
Truth be told, there is no system or process that is completely foolproof, as the most determined hackers can power through if they have the time and resources. But if you take as many precautions as possible, you have better chances of coming out of an attack intact.
Use the right technology
Viruses and stolen information can destroy your computer system and even business. WSJ recommends steps you can take to protect your systems, such as always updating your computer operating systems, as hackers usually target those that don’t have the latest software. Encryption software can help protect financial information during transactions, and also safeguard the information that you send and store within the company. In addition, you should consider the cybersecurity of your business from the inside. There is software that can detect certain behavioral patterns, and monitor outbound communications to see if certain information is being leaked.
Have the proper legal documents and legal standing
An LLC as detailed by ZenBusiness separates your online business’s assets from your personal assets so that you aren’t held liable for any potential lawsuits your business may face. This added layer of protection can help immensely. However, it’s best that you avoid lawsuits entirely by making sure that you have your own legally binding agreements. Do not simply take another company’s documents and reword them to suit your own business. Hire a lawyer to help you with documents such as contracts, privacy policies, and terms and conditions to ensure all your bases are covered.
Ensure proper privacy licenses
Ransomware is one of the most kind of malware affecting online businesses. It steals information from you and holds it hostage until you pay a ransom. Small Business Trends describes the dangers and also measures you can take to protect your computer systems, such as choosing a secure hosting service and using HTTPS for your website. Hackers are always looking for loopholes, and these two seemingly minor things add layers of security between your website and server. Religiously backing up your files in a cloud storage drive and on physical storage systems ensure that you have backups that won’t be affected by ransomware should you get hit.
Setting up multiple safeguards for your online business will take time and money, but it will be worth it in the long run. Check out our ‘How-To’ Archives for more guides on technology.