8 Easy Steps to Increase Your Business’s Online Security

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Online Security

Online hackers and digital interlopers often target small and medium-sized businesses.

However, there are ways to prevent this. In the UK, many businesses are held to ransom or face online disruptions daily. These incidents occur due to personal agendas, financial gain, or simply to cause trouble.

IT security breaches can cost UK SMEs an average of £3,770 and result in 2-3 days of downtime for their IT infrastructure. The risk and cost increase as the business size grows.

When it comes to business safety, the risks are the same for all countries, as cybersecurity concerns everyone. But you can improve it significantly with the following tips.

#1 Implement a Regular Password Change Procedure

At a minimum, perform this task every ninety days. It is one of the most effective actions we can take to enhance business security. Firstly, it eliminates weak passwords such as “Password1” or the names of family pets that are easily guessed by hackers.

If your business laptop bag gets lost, containing valuable information, personal notebooks, and the business computer, we should not make it simple for criminals to access your online or laptop accounts. Cybercriminals are well aware of common passwords and exploiting them leaves your business susceptible to outside attacks.

#2 Set Up a Firewall

A robust firewall serves as the primary defence against hackers who seek to break into payment terminals. One of the frequent attacks is the introduction of malware and duplication of data from clients. The firewall will not allow information to go in the wrong direction, it will be immediately noticed and blocked.

For instance, firewalls possess the ability to identify unauthorized upload or download activities within your network. Should such activities occur without proper authorization, the firewall automatically terminates the process.

#3 Integrate VPN

A VPN is known for its ability to cut off all unnecessary parties that are trying to infiltrate your Internet channel. It’s from the internet backbone, making your connection a tunnel, in a nutshell.

VPN for business allows you to lay a direct tunnel between you and your customers, protecting yourself from everyone from the outside. We recommend installing VeePN for Mac as it provides resistance to most cyber risks.

VeePN can protect against phishing, DDoS attacks, and data interception, and reduce the risk of viruses infecting your device.

Online Security

#4 Do Vulnerability Testing

To ensure the security of your network and payment terminals against breaches, there are several software options available. The first step is to check with your payment processor, as some may provide free firewall and security testing as part of their package.

If you currently don’t have access to security software, consider ControlScan Inc.’s PCI 1-2-3. It offers comprehensive vulnerability scans, detailed reports, and step-by-step instructions to fortify any weak areas. Additionally, it includes cyber security training for employees. The annual fee for PCI 1-2-3 is $250, with an additional $100 per extra IP address.

#5 Delete Old Accounts

One of the common business vulnerabilities is old accounts. An employee once worked with you, used his password there, which he also used on other services.

This means that if someone leaks it to the network, at any time the account can be hacked. The higher the access level of an employee, the greater the impact on the business. Avoiding inadvertent mishaps, such as a tweet intended for a former employee’s account being sent to the business account, is crucial.

If you have recently changed systems or undergone layoffs, it is highly recommended to conduct a thorough review of your existing setup and remove or strengthen any weak points. This practice not only ensures good IT support but also reinforces the uniqueness and security of your network.

#6 Log Off and Turn Off

Encourage staff to power off their computers when not in use as a good onboarding tactic. This helps save power, reduces costs, extends the lifespan of your computer, and makes it less visible to potential hackers.

Additionally, it minimizes the exposure of your computer to IT security issues. It should be standard practice for workstations to enter password mode when unattended.

#7 Avoid Spam

Your company’s IT security faces significant risks from email messages sent by unknown individuals seeking to exploit carefully crafted electronic mail for unauthorized access to your systems.

Implementing a company-wide policy during the HR onboarding process is a cost-effective measure to minimize your network’s exposure to phishing scams and malicious links. By enforcing the simple rule of ‘If you don’t recognize it, don’t open it’, you can prevent numerous problems in the future.

Employing modern filtering software enables the interception of most spam messages before they reach your inbox. Opting for intelligent mail protection systems provides an additional layer of assurance and safeguarding.

Anti-spam software utilizes various protocols to detect and block unwelcome and unsolicited messages from reaching your company’s inbox. Additionally, using a mail form instead of a direct email address can prevent automated software from discovering your email accounts.

#8 Have a Separate Network

By segregating your payment terminal network from your general store network, you can greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber-attacks. Often, hackers infiltrate systems through employees. They exploit infected emails to gain unauthorized access to an employee’s computer and steal network access data, allowing them unfettered entry into both the network and payment terminal.

However, placing your payment terminal on a separate network, limited to only a few authorized individuals with expertise, significantly decreases the success rate of cyber criminals. They are forced to exert greater effort to breach the system, making them more likely to bypass your business and seek easier targets elsewhere.

Conclusion

Ensuring the safeguarding of your customers’ information should be a paramount concern. If a breach occurs, the trust of your customers may be lost, potentially leading to significant consequences.

According to Fit Small Business, data breaches have resulted in 60% of small businesses going out of business within six months due to exorbitant fees and loss of clientele.

Don’t expose your business to such risks. Instead, take proactive measures, as outlined above, to ensure the utmost security of your business.

FAQ

Why is the importance of cybersecurity for business growing?

The importance of cybersecurity for businesses is growing due to the increasing complexity and sophistication of cyber-attacks. As malicious actors become more adept at exploiting security weaknesses, businesses must take proactive measures to protect their networks from unauthorized access.

This includes implementing strong firewall systems, using encryption software, conducting vulnerability testing, and deleting old accounts with outdated passwords.

How does security affect business?

Failing to prove compliance during an audit can lead to the loss of valuable customers, damage to reputation, and expose businesses to hefty fines and sanctions. Certain industries dealing with sensitive information have higher risk levels, necessitating stricter security regulations.