Did you know that 28% of data breaches that occurred in 2020 targeted small businesses? Of the 157,525 security incidents that took place that year, 3,950 were data breaches.
What’s more, experts project cybercrimes to inflict $6 trillion in damages this 2021. They also forecast this to grow further to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
All that proves how online business security is a must for all organizations, no matter the size. Without it, you run the risk of falling victim to phishing, malware, and even legal liabilities. Keep in mind that clients can sue businesses if their data gets compromised by a cyber attack.
To that end, we came up with this guide listing some of the best security practices for online businesses. Read on to discover what you can do to keep your website and online assets safe from cybercriminals.
1. Invest in SSL Certificates
SSL stands for “Secure Socket Layer.” It’s a protocol that encrypts data that flows between a browser and a server. It forces sensitive data to go through an integrity test before transmission.
An SSL certificate only transmits encrypted messages if the transaction passes the test. If the integrity test fails, then the transaction doesn’t proceed either.
For this reason, SSL certificates enable safer processing for online payments. These website security protocols help protect data like credit card info from snoopers.
SSL certificates also help safeguard login credentials, such as usernames and passwords. When a site visitor enters these details into a site, the certificate “codifies” them first. From there, the certificate runs the integrity test on the encrypted message.
The site visitor can only access the account associated with the login info if the code passes the test.
2. Use an Address Verification System (AVS)
An AVS is a tool designed to monitor and detect suspicious bank or credit card transactions. It compares the point of transaction or sale with the card’s recorded billing address. In this way, it helps prevent fraudulent charges on debit and credit card accounts.
Suppose your card’s recorded financial data indicates you live in New York City. However, an attempted online charge comes in from Los Angeles, California. If the website uses an AVS, the transaction won’t push through, as the addresses differ.
With that said, consider enabling AVS if your online business accepts card payments. This way, you can reduce the risks and frequency of fraudulent activities on your site.
3. Catch the Phish
According to some estimates, some 269 billion email messages get sent every day. So, it’s no wonder that emails are a primary vector of phishing tactics. Studies reveal that one in every 2,000 of these messages is a phishing email.
The goal of most phishing emails is to collect personal and financial information. These can be anywhere from bank accounts to social security numbers. Cybercriminals then use the stolen information to commit fraud or identity theft.
Email services use phishing filters, but a study found they still let 64% to 75% of phishing emails through. For that reason, it’s best to deploy a SPAM filter that detects suspicious mails and even viruses. Make sure to educate all your employees about spotting and catching the “phish,” too.
4. Address Password Loopholes With MFA
MFA stands for multi-factor authentication. It’s a protocol that requires users to pass more than two verification processes. Users can only gain access to their online accounts if they pass all the MFA protocols.
For example, aside from supplying the password, a user must also input a code and pass a CAPTCHA test. The code the user needs to provide can either come from a text or email message.
Another verification factor is answering a security question. In some cases, MFA may also employ biometrics, such as fingerprint identification.
If a user fails even just one of these methods, the MFA will block access to the account. It’s in this way that this authentication technology can help reduce security threats.
5. Be Mindful of those Plugins
In June 2020, a spyware attack led to 32 million downloads of malicious Chrome extensions. Before that, in February 2020, Google had to yank 500 malicious extensions out of its browser, too.
All that shows how cybercriminals can bypass the security of even the best tech firms. Using malware protection can beef up your business security management strategies.
Anti-malware programs detect both offline (i.e., downloaded malware) and online security threats. They can monitor your browsers, browser content, and plug-ins for suspicious activity. If they detect anything fishy, they’ll warn you about it so that you can get them out of your system.
6. Get a Password Manager
A 2018 audit found that 1,464 government officials used the password, “password123”. On top of that were more than 800 Western Australian officials who went for “password.” All in all, over 5,000 passwords contained the word “password” in them.
Such weak passwords are basically an invitation for hackers to commit cybercrimes. Granted, it’s tedious to memorize some 15 different passwords for individual accounts. However, you don’t have to, so long as you use a password manager.
A password manager is a utility designed for the secure storage of passwords. It also helps users create strong passwords for each of their accounts. The software then auto-populates the stored passwords into login pages.
With a password manager, you only have one password to memorize: the one for the utility. The software “memorizes” everything else on your behalf. In this way, you can actually create strong passwords without the need to commit them to memory.
Password managers also safeguard you from accidentally entering credentials on the wrong site. They will only offer to auto-populate log-in info when you’re at the right website.
Beef up Your Business Security Today
Keep in mind that up to 60% of cyber-attacked SMBs go out of business in just six months. That’s why you should never delay enforcing proper online business security measures. As early as today, make sure to start implementing these cybersecurity strategies.
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