Best Habits To Have To Protect Your Business Online
In the recent past, numerous big, small and medium enterprises have experienced various forms of hacking and cybercrime. This is irrespective of whether your business operates primarily through the e-commerce platform or not. What is clear is that as many businesses embrace the benefits of digital technologies, they are increasingly becoming attractive to cybercriminals and black hat hackers. Most of the attackers are after data, including things like credit card and contact information of your clients.
A 2010 online threat by Symantec estimated that 75% of businesses were victims of some form of cyber-attack in the preceding year. In 2015, another study by Juniper Research determined estimated that total costs of cybercrime across the globe would reach staggering $2 trillion by 2019. This would account for four times the $500 billion incurred in the year 2015.
What is more worrying is that although the Symantec report indicated that most of the targeted businesses were large corporations, the study by Juniper research revealed that 43% of the hackers targeted small and medium businesses. The reason for the evolving trend towards the SMBs was due to inadequate network security systems, incapable of keeping up with the rapidly changing emerging cyber threats.
Therefore, protecting from fraud is paramount to the success of your business, unless you want the enterprise to become another statistic.
Protecting From Fraud
Whether you are a business owner or manager, you need to understand the importance of protecting your business from fraud online. Most businesses today thrive on computers. Consider the following:
- Customer relations management systems (CRM)
- Financial and accounting systems
- Information management systems
- Contracts and forms, and
- Spreadsheets among others.
What all these systems have in common is that you need to use some form of computer systems and networks. More importantly, all the data, information and records need protection.
Due to the reliance on computers and online networks, your business is more open to a variety of new threats, both in numbers and complexity. Some of the threats you might encounter include:
- Identity theft/fraud
- Unauthorized access to your corporate systems and network
- Insider sabotages
- Attacks exploiting various vulnerabilities on your applications
With the increasing levels of sophistication of online threats, it is evident why many businesses across the world are investing more in their online security.
You need to comprehend that modern cybercrime is all about money. If you do not spend it to protect your business from online fraud, then you will spend it on losses. Period. Cybercriminals today target your financial information and that of your employees’ and customers’ if you are not cyber-savvy enough.
Such attacks have already disrupted, ruined and resulted in substantial monetary losses in many small, medium and large enterprises. You might already be using some form of protection software such as antiviruses in your business computers. However, this is just a small part of the solutions. No single level of protection sufficient; you need several layers of security and habits to protect your enterprise online.
Here are some of the best habits and measures that you can use to effectively protect your business online:
Protect Your PC
This is first and most important habit that you should develop to protect your business from fraud online. To protect means to employ various methods to defend or deter in cyber-attacks on your business systems and network.
In fact, this is the only way that you will determine whether your business is operating in a reactive or proactive environment. There is a big difference between waiting for a blow up to occur, and then you call for help and seeking opportunities to seal any loopholes in your business systems. Choose the latter.
The first step in this direction is to install as well as maintain a real-time firewall, anti-spyware, anti-virus, and an effective malware detection and prevention computer software. Employ such tools on a regular basis to scan your enterprise network. Additionally, allow certified automatic updates for your business computer operating and other software systems. You should also take immediate and appropriate action if the security systems warn you of any potential or real threat within your business systems.
Other ways that you can protect your business systems from online threats include:
- Minimize the number of people with access to crucial computers or systems such as the workstations used for online payments and banking. You should also restrict the functions of such workstations.
- You can use standalone computers that are not connected to the main network to perform sensitive transactions
- Your workers should not use dedicated workstations for general web browsing, social networking and e-mailing
- Distribute sensitive transactions such that they cannot be completed by one single individual
- Do not try to access confidential business information or accounts from public places like public Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels and airports. If necessary, you can opt for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with the ability to encrypt your messages
- Do not forget to create strong passwords for all your business accounts
Education on Computer Protection
This goes without saying. Ensure that all your employees are educated and skilled on the various tactics that they can use to protect the business from fraud online.
Cybercrimes and threats are constantly changing. Consequently, the fraud prevention and software solutions that you use should frequently be updated to keep up with the hackers. You need to keep asking yourself whether the steps you are taking are adequate to protect your business at that particular period in time.
Your employees also need to be kept in sync with developments that might threaten your business online. Here some things that the need to be taught in order to enhance the safety of your business online:
Its 2018 – Back Up Your System Regularly
Even though you can work to protect your business from online fraud at all times, there are sometimes when the threat might exceed your current safeguards. This is why it is always wise to have your data and information backed-up in a secure location.
Protecting from fraud is a serious process that requires a two-pronged back strategy. First, ensure that you conduct regular local backups, and then offsite storage for a subsequent backup copy. You should schedule regular backups in the cloud or to an external hard drive to make sure that all your business data and information is stored safely.
Normally, businesses schedule complete backups on a nightly or weekly basis. Essential business information from your systems should be backed up completely within a reasonable time frame. Otherwise, you can conduct incremental backups, resuming from your last point. The emergence of affordable external hard drives in the recent past has made the process of conducting regular local backups even much easier and flexible.
Whether you decide to conduct your business data and information backups locally or not, you should make sure that it is regularly done. One of the most painful experiences that a business owner or manager can undergo is the loss of their business data and information. Imagine losing all your clients’ contacts, personal information, transactions and other essential details. That can easily mean the ultimate ruin of your business. Also, imagine the amount of distress that can cause your customers?
Acquire Cyber-security Insurance
This is a relatively new solution in the protection of businesses from online fraud. Cybersecurity insurance solutions are built on the premise that your business is always open to online threats.
Therefore, instead of holding back until you are a victim, you can take the proactive step of acquiring cybersecurity insurance for the business. If you think about it, it is better that you purchase a cyber-liability insurance option and have it in place when your business falls a victim.
If you think of the costs that the problems that might arise in the event of a security breach in your organization, then it is apparent that having this solution in place is worthwhile.
Overall, you might think of these habits as far-fetched, especially if you are not tech savvy. Do not panic. You do not need to work on them all alone. In fact, you need to work as a team with the support of your IT team and support company.
More importantly, always be open-minded and ready to discuss anything that your IT team might have found in your business systems. Also, remember to appreciate and work with them to come up with solutions whenever they make recommendations. This way, you can feel safe that you are doing the best to protect your business from online fraud at all times.