9 Tips for Keeping Your Business Data Secure

Technology is man’s best friend, considering that every new invention in the tech space somehow enhances how we transact business. Security is the primary concern for every online business out there. SSL certificates are the antidote to all your cybersecurity concerns. They come in various kinds and validation levels; you need to choose the one that works best for you.

However, for every hero, there is a villain, and without a cheap wildcard SSL installed on your website to protect your main domain as well as all related sub-domains, you might be opening the door to the bad guys and serving them a cup of tea while they wreck your hard-earned sweat. The thing is, not just corporate giants like Microsoft and Sony need to worry about hackers; small businesses have actually become their favorite prey!

Whenever you launch an e-commerce store, your dream is to attract huge loads of traffic and create a loyal customer base with substantial conversions. However, the question is, are you prepared for how you will be collecting, storing, and using customer data? Recently we have seen major lawsuits left, right, and center regarding how companies handle their business data.

We have serious laws in place like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), where if you don’t comply, you might as well kiss your online business goodbye. You also don’t want to deal with the bad reputation and possible fines that might come if your site gets hacked.

  1. Take Authenticated Payments

One major part of your business process will be accepting payments. This is actually the most important step as this is where the profits come from, and it’s also a hacker’s fattest steak, and you can be sure that any vulnerability in this area can be very risky. Instead of accepting magnetic-stripe cards where a customer’s bank account info is usually static at the back of the card, adopt newer payment technologies like EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip cards and NFC (contactless payments such as Apple Pay) transactions. These payments are authenticated, and so customer account info is encrypted during payment processing.

  • Enforce SSL Encryption

These days, all the major browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Safari have gotten very keen on enforcing secure browsing. A major part of this is ensuring that every single website has migrated from HTTP to HTTPS. The idea here is to ensure that every data being exchanged between a web server and a client-server is encrypted and is subsequently not susceptible to man-in-the-middle attacks. For a business website, it’s advisable to install a wildcard SSL certificate that protects not only your main domain but also all related first-level sub-domains. This way, you can protect all sections of your online business with a single certificate. If you seek to secure your website communication with the most premium validation level, we suggest that you go for an EV SSL certificate. You can consider buying a Comodo EV SSL certificate for securing sensitive information and transactions executed on your website.

  • Restrict Access To Sensitive Data

Although you might have the best security protocols against any external threats, it’s important to note that sometimes the Judas are closer home than you think. Many data breaches have actually resulted from internal errors where a negligent employee might open spam emails and fishy websites carelessly and infect your systems, or a malicious employee might even decide to sabotage you. To avoid this, restrict access to a need-to-know basis. Only a few trusted employees and business partners should have access to customer data. Guard those passwords, keys, and codes with your life and change them immediately you sense any foul play.

  • Enforce The Use Of Strong Passwords

You might have come across this point a million times already, but it’s funny how many people still fall victim to the use of weak passwords. Hackers use brute force mechanisms that are super smart and will guess your logins in no time if you use your business name or a weak sequence like 12345. An ideal password should have at least eight characters and have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. This does not only apply to you as an admin but also to all employees. In addition, enforce multi-factor authentication that adds an extra layer of protection.

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  • Have An Honest Privacy Policy In Place

When designing your e-commerce website, pay special attention to your privacy policy. This is not a section you want to fill out hurriedly using deceptive statements about how you collect, store and use customer data because any mistake might land you in hot soup. Companies like Snapchat have already landed in trouble with regulatory bodies due to having a dishonest privacy policy. Ensure that you cross-check yours from time to time to ensure that all info is accurate and up-to-date.

  • Update Your Software Religiously

Software updates are very sensitive, especially in regards to keeping your customer data safe. Sometimes it’s so easy to tap the ‘remind me later’ button whenever the update screen pops up, but you can easily find yourself on the receiving end if you delay. Hackers are always on the lookout for any security vulnerabilities, and if you hesitate in installing patches, their bots might pick up your website when scanning for the weakest links to attack.

  • Store Only The Necessary Data

Although cyber criminals are made to appear like super smart people in movies, you can outsmart them by denying them what they are looking for by not having it at all. Although there are those customer details that are essential in the running of your business, such as addresses and names, you can operate without having to store credit card details. You can let third-party payment processors like Stripe and PayPal handle that for you, which is safer.

  • Install Antivirus Software And Spam Filters

Prevention is always better than cure, and that is why having proper antivirus software on all company computers is essential to thwart any virus and malware infections. This also applies to any personal computers that you and your employees use to access business information. Additionally, it’s important to install advanced spam filters in your email systems because hackers have gotten very smart in sneaking genuine-looking spam.

  • Back Up Your Data Regularly

Sometimes we can give 100% effort to making sure that we implement data security best practices, but there is always that rare case where malicious actors still manage to sneak in. It’s therefore wise to have a proper disaster recovery plan in place, one of which is ensuring that you backup your data on a regular basis. You can set up your system to conduct automatic backups on a daily basis, which would make it so easy to restore your data in case the worst happens.

Conclusion

Business data is quite the golden goose for hackers and malicious actors. Don’t be fooled to think that your small startup is not important to cyber criminals. Based on recent trends, small businesses are increasingly being targeted in security breaches. To avoid having your business crippled before you even start enjoying the fruits of your labor, install an SSL certificate on your business site to not only keep the bad guys at bay but also improve customer trust and conversions.

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Alen Parker

Guest Blogger | SEO Outreach | SEO