The internet is not always a safe environment and living in the digital age means that we are exposed to an increasing number of new risks that weren’t risks before. Online security is a broad term to describe the steps and strategies a business, or individual, puts in place to protect and guard their networks and computers connected to the internet. As a business owner, it is vital that you consider online security and include it in your business planning. If your company, big or small, uses the internet in any way, whether it be for emailing, banking, running a website or online store, social media or publishing content, it is important that you understand the importance of online security and know how to keep your business, your information and your assets safe.
Why Is Online Security Important?
Billions of people use the internet every day and huge amounts of data and information are processed every minute through web browsers. Unfortunately, this means that those online looking to steal data or hack a website have plenty of opportunities to do so and it is harder and harder to guarantee that all internet users and using the web in an ethical and legal way.
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Online security is important because as internet uses increases so do the types of crimes that businesses could fall victim to. In this day and age, one challenge facing businesses is the threat of cyber crimes and cyber breaches. Cybercrime can encompass a whole host of different crimes and fraudulent activity. There are those online looking to steal identities and use the personal details or financial information of other people, there are data thieves who seek to use valuable data from online sources and data corrupters who hack networks and websites to disrupt services.
As a business owner, one of the most important aspects of online security is knowing and understanding that the threat of cybercrime is real and taking the process of protecting your business seriously. This is particularly important if you are a small business owner since almost half of cyber attacks are targeted against small businesses according to an investigation in 2016.
Here are some reasons why your online security matters:
1)Financial Cost – dealing with the aftermath of a cyber attack is expensive and can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re a small business owner, this can seriously damage the long-term livelihood your business.
2) Reputation – being open to cyber crimes does not reflect well on your business and can affect the credibility of your business, leading to a loss of customers and clientele
3)Data Loss – if you haven’t ensured your data is backed up, a cyber breach could mean the permanent loss of valuable information for your business
4) Customers – online security also matters for the sake of your customers. A lack of online security could put your best customers at risk
How Can You Improve Your Online Security?
One of the first ways you can learn about how to make changes to your online security is to hire a firm to check your system for vulnerabilities by attempting to hack your security system. This will help you to ascertain where the weaknesses are and how you can tackle them.
Some ways of improving your cybersecurity include improving password protection by having strong password strength and regularly requiring the use of passwords to access work appliances and using multiple levels of protection. Putting an online security awareness program as well as providing training for staff can help to ensure that all employees maintain good online security practices and are aware and informed about how to protect your company’s resources. If you’re serious about online security, it is worth considering having extra training yourself so that you gain the skills and knowledge to properly enforce an online security plan.
Another effective way to protect against malicious cyber activity, hardware failure and theft is to regularly backup your data. Without a backup, you risk losing valuable information.
If you are involved in online sales, an SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer) is essential as it provides secure, encrypted communication between a website and browser. Having an SSL certificate means that a secure icon will show next to your URL when users access your site, which is important for your customers to know that they are shopping in a safe environment.
There are simple and effective steps you can take in order to protect your business, no matter its size. Many businesses make the mistake of not making online security one of their main priorities and this mistake can have dire consequences for your company. How secure is your business? If you’re worried the answer is ‘not very’, then some changes may need to be made.