With countless cybersecurity guides all claiming ‘essential' anti-hacking practices, it can be hard to know if you’re doing enough.
To answer this question, though, you need to first know the risks, so this guide will give you an overview of the key areas of online security to help you determine if you’re properly protected.
One of the biggest dangers to your business is sloppy personal practices. If you fail to browse safely, then your shortcomings could soon result in a company-wide data breach of malware injection.
A good antivirus and firewall suite is an essential first step, but don't expect technology to do all the hard work. It's your responsibility to vet websites and emails to avoid clicking on infected links. Avoid opening correspondence from those you don't know, and stick to trusted web domains.
Similarly, a strong password is the key to good security. Acting as the first line of defense, it must be complex, unique and long. Opt for 8+ characters, including capital letters, numbers, and punctuation, and try and avoid obvious words. A good password encryption software, such as LastPass, is incredibly useful to help remember all your codes.
In the digital era, most businesses focus their services around a website. It's essential to have it locked down.
WordPress plugins are a great alternative to a full-time web development team. There are many available that offer a broad range of security features. Just remember to choose well-reviewed options. If you do use WP, don’t forget to change your username from the default “admin.” Failing to do so gives hackers half the information they need to get into your account.
Hackers don't always breach your site from the front page or admin panel, though. The browser-server connection is also a frequent target. SSL certificates use an algorithm to encrypt this path, making it impossible to access data during transit. An SSL secured site will provide an HTTPS URL, which instantly inspires trust from end-users.
Having a company-wide privacy protocol including a guide for link-clicking, password creation and suspect domains is essential. Providing a training course of regulatory practices can reduce to risk of human error.
Also, keep all software up-to-date. Cybercriminals are relentless, and old versions quickly become insecure. Updates are released to patch these holes, so be sure you don't fall behind.
As a final measure to reduce human error, it's also worth restricting access. Not everyone needs full admin-control. Fewer people with access means fewer points of entry for hackers.
In a world of smartphones and public WiFi, remote security has become an increasing concern. Unfortunately, public connections are notoriously insecure, as browsing information is not encrypted from other users.
Fortunately, you can bypass this issue with proxy software that allows you to create a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which reroutes traffic through a dedicated server, making you invisible to prying eyes.
These are the basics for protecting your small business from hackers. Each business has different needs, but focusing on these key areas is a good way to ensure your business is safe.
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About the Author
Cassie is an expert in online security. Alongside blogging about the subject for many years, she has also worked in creating and securing sites. She hopes sharing her tips will make the internet a safer place overall.