The internet is home to unthinkable quantities of information, much of which is best kept private, so it follows that business owners spend a great deal of time and energy on fending off hackers and potential data breaches. It doesn’t take having your business security compromised to understand the importance of data protection, and yet so many businesses fall victim to data breaches every year.
Whether you’re working with internal information or providing a service to your customers, securing your website could not be more important, particularly as hackers and malicious online systems become more advanced. Ultimately, failing to enhance and update your security measures means risking consumer trust and opening yourself up to the avalanche of negative PR that comes with data leakage.
With that in mind, here are a few ways you can prevent your business from joining those ranks.
Prime Your Passwords
It might seem a little obvious, but the humble password is a critical tool in the war against data breaches, but only when implemented effectively. Essentially, if you’re in the habit of using the same password for everything or opting for simple, hackable options like “1234” or “password”, you’re creating an easy, hacker-sized entrance to the most valuable information in your business. Before you do anything else – like investing in expensive data security programs – invest some time in creating more secure passwords. There’s no need to worry about forgetting your new passwords, either, now that handy password-storage applications are free and available on most devices.
Switch to HTTPS
Unless you’re a web developer, you may not know a whole lot about the first few letters of your website URL, but you should. A URL beginning with HTTPS as opposed to HTTP is a signal that the webpage in question has been encrypted, meaning intruders are unable to hack into vital communications between your website and its visitors. Without this added layer of security, users are vulnerable to hackers who plan to collect sensitive information on their identities and online activities.
Encrypt Your Data
If those words sound like another language to you, then you’re not alone – but this is no longer the domain of tech geeks alone. In fact, enough tools have been created for this very job that it’s difficult to justify an anti-encryption position. Full-disk encryption is the most secure option for protecting the data on your devices, but you can also encrypt the data on memory cards, in the cloud, and even on the internet with a virtual private network (VPN). Before you know it, you’ll be protected on every possible platform!
Update Your Software
When you’re using an old device, you have to lower your expectations for functionality, and the same is true for your data security software. Investing in the most recent, reputable software on the market is ideal, and depending on your operating system, you can often get software updates for no extra cost. Even basic malware bugs cause big problems, which makes quality anti-malware software an essential investment. The best part about these software programs is that they can usually be set to update automatically, leaving you with one less thing to think about.
Take a Systematic Approach
You don’t need to be a tech expert to understand the value of effective data management, or to get the right protective systems in place, but you do need a plan of action. In case your business hasn’t yet developed a plan of action for dealing with potential data breaches, now is the time to do it. Putting a data breach response plan in place is a critical step towards minimising the consequences of any future breaches, and it will go a long way towards earning consumers’ trust.
Back Everything Up
As computers become more and more integral to the functions of everyday life, so do the basic methods of data protection, and this one is about as basic as they come. The problem is that effective data protection practices are a habit (just like pressing CTRL + S to save), and one which many people are yet to develop. Remember that old saying, “Prevention is better than the cure.”? Think of data backups as a simple way of preventing a total disaster, even if you’re unfortunate enough to encounter a hacker. Saving everything on the cloud is a great start, and there are also a growing number of specialised backup services for developers.
We all know that “downtime” is essential for physical and mental wellbeing, but what you may not know is that your computer needs its shut-eye too. Switching off completely at the end of the day is a foolproof way to minimise scammers’ access to your device and your network – plus, it gives your computer’s operating system a chance to install any new software updates which have become available. What’s not to love?
Keeping your website and business safe from the ever-growing threat of hackers, malware, and all the other dark forces of the internet is a big job, but it’s also critical to your success in the online world. Even if it seems daunting right now, creating a simple yet effective plan for your online security will make all the difference going forward.