The internet age has brought about staggering changes in the business landscape, and unprecedented opportunity for many small business owners. However, it’s also bought pestilence in the way of hackers and other insidious online security threats. Whether your business is totally or partially internet driven, it’s critical to implement online security – or your entire online business could come grinding to a halt.
What Are The Risks And Why Your SME Could Be Vulnerable
Hackers, spyware, viruses and trojans are some of the cyber-baddies who are constantly on the prowl to wreak havoc on computers and networks with poor security. In recent times, as larger companies have bolstered their online presence they’ve simultaneously strengthened their internet security procedures and safeguards – this means that many hackers have turned their attention to easier prey…namely SME’s and entrepreneurs.
Hackers have also evolved with the internet – many have access to sophisticated software and tools that are able to sniff out websites, computers and networks with slap dash security. Their ability to damage sites and businesses have also evolved with equal voracity – with programs capable of carrying out any manor of malicious tasks within a computer or network.
Here are some key ways in which any SME can bolster its online security:
- Incorporate online security within your overall business plan. As your company evolves, so will your IT needs – you may change systems, offer system access to a wider group of employees and contractors and these could all bring new security threats. Whenever your business plan is reviewed, ensure that internet security gets its own space within.
- Consider bolstering security on popular opensource software. For example, open source CMS such as WordPress can be a sensational way to power your businesses ecommerce needs – however, because millions of sites use it, they attract hackers like a moth to a flame. Take precautions such as adding covert layers of security and protection to reduce the chance of getting hacked.
- Ensure all computers and mobile devices are suitably protected. At a bare minimum, computers, phones and other online devices should be protected by antivirus, anti spyware and a firewall. These need to be kept updated (many will auto update as soon as a protected computer logs online)
- Beware of internal attacks. This need not just be an employee who’s fed up and wants to get back at the company. A virus could be unwittingly injected into the company network. For example by a worker who downloads a game file on a work computer and unleashes a nasty trojan within. SME’s who may only have a couple of employees (and no savvy IT desk to clean up the devastation that can be caused by a virus) should make it clear in the employees contract that office computers should not be used to download unofficial files.
- Change passwords. Now and again, change key passwords – never keep default passwords on systems that are new and where the installation was done by a third party.
- Update everything. Whether it’s your internet browser, your WordPress powered site or antivirus – it’s important to use the latest version. Developers usually make the latest version the most secure against online threats and hackers often sniff out websites and systems that are using out of date versions as they are comfortably easier to crack.
- Employ encryption software when accepting online payments. This keeps the financial data (credit card information and so on) far more secure when payments are being made, and reduces the possibility of cyber fraud.