If you run a small business, the last thing you want to do is find your company data, website or any other piece of the process compromised. But with technology becoming more and more advanced, there are increasingly sophisticated attacks that you need to be aware of and protect against. Let’s take a look at the major problems and some simple solutions for your online security.
Problem 1: Website Hijacking
Unfortunately, your domain name can be hijacked—even if you own it. There are a couple different reasons someone might take over your domain, and it’s not just so that they can use the domain to create their own website. Instead, they could use it to set up a mirror site that steals details from your customers, or they could use it to spread malware to infect you or your customers.
In any case, you’ll find that the trust system you’ve carefully built with your customers will be compromised and so might any email accounts linked to the domain name.
Solution 1a: A Strong Login Combination
When you’re creating a username and password, whether for your computer or for your email or for your website, it needs to be strong enough to withstand attack, even those performed by bots who can try any number of combinations within a short amount of time.
It might be difficult to remember a password that is truly strong, but there are tools you can use to ease your way. And make sure your screensaver on your computer automatically locks after a certain amount of time. On the off-chance that you walk away from it for a minute and something unfortunate happens, you don’t want someone else to have easy access to everything you have stored on there!
Solution 1b: The Use of a VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) will give you a much safer connection to the internet by sending all of your cookies (packets of information containing your passwords, site history, and more) to sites via a sort of tunnel that hackers have a difficult time accessing. Normally, your internet connection isn’t entirely secure. Your information is just floating out there for anyone to access if they take a minute to try.
But a VPN, fortunately, will close everything off so that prying eyes are much less likely to even try to bother you. For your business, you’ll want the best so that you don’t need to worry at all. Check out this list by Secure Thoughts to select the one that fits your needs.
Problem Two: Spyware and Malware
Viruses are another huge problem facing your company. These days, you don’t only get the annoying variety of viruses that will slow down your computer and frustrate you when you try to perform certain tasks. Instead, it’s common to find yourself a victim of viruses designed to steal your information—or any other information, including that of your customers—that is stored on your computer.[bctt tweet=”It’s common to find yourself a victim of viruses designed to steal your information—or your customers’—stored on your computer”]
And these viruses could be coming from nearly anywhere—programs you’ve downloaded, sites you’ve visited, emails you shouldn’t have opened, WiFi networks you shouldn’t have connected to, USB drives you shouldn’t have used or many other places.
Solution 2a: Anti-virus Software
The obvious solution to spyware and malware is anti-virus software, and as with VPNs, you’ll want the strongest possible when it comes to protecting your business. A good anti-virus software will both scan your computer for viruses as well as clear off any viruses that are there, but you can also use anti-malware plugins to scan your website if you’ve built it using WordPress or other popular content management systems, and many of the best ones are even free!
Solution 2b: Email Encryption
Whenever you’re sending information about your business via email, even if it doesn’t seem like particularly sensitive information, you should make sure you’re using encrypted messages. Like with a VPN, this will make information much more difficult for would-be hackers to intercept; messages will only be visible to you and the intended recipient.
Believe it or not, email service providers frequently scan your emails to better provide you with targeted advertising, but should your emails fall into the wrong hands, you should at least make sure personal information about yourself and your clients is safe from their eyes.
Although online security grows more complex every day, your use of a strong password, VPN, anti-virus software and email encryption makes you much less likely to encounter online problems, which will compromise your business.
Are there any other tips you can share? If so, head to the comments section at the bottom of the page!
Cassie Phillips is a technology blogger who enjoys helping small business owners protect their digital assets. She specializes in website and computer security.