The Internet has become an indispensable tool when starting any kind of business nowadays, and a lot of companies conduct virtually one hundred percent of their business online. The web has definitely made us more efficient, faster and more productive, but at a certain price. Because the amount of information we share and store online is increasing every day, security breaches are a lot more common and a lot more likely to happen than before.
Just think about it: Before the Internet became as widespread as it is today, in order to steal sensitive data from a company you’d actually have to break in and steal physical documents, something that came with a much higher risk (you could actually get arrested quite easily). Now, all you need to perform a serious security breach is a computer and a certain amount of knowledge about computer systems. A good programmer can locate weak spots in your website’s security, exploit them in order to obtain sensitive data and put both you and your clients at risk.
Information security is definitely an issue that many people don’t take seriously these days; a lot of people think that it won’t happen to them, and that’s exactly why it does. Huge companies like Facebook, Dropbox and Yahoo have had security breaches over the years, and you can be sure that those guys are packing some serious security. If they can get hacked, then what chance does your small business website with virtually no security have?
In this article, we’ll try our best to educate you about why information security is paramount to your business, what you can do in order to increase it, and how to minimize the chance of a cyber-attack on your website.
The Consequences of a Security Breach
To best understand why you need to upgrade your security as soon as possible, first you need to look at what can happen in the event that you do get hacked. Once a proficient hacker attacks your website, a number of things can happen. Some people just hack for fun, so you might get away with a simple DDoS without any real harm intended. However, if the hacker is after something particular, they can get their hands on really sensitive information that you definitely do notwant them to have.
Never mind your own info; what you really need to worry about is what other people leave on your website. Your customer’s credit card data and personal information (a home address, a password, their purchasing history), and perhaps even your employee’s data. Depending on the size of your business, hundreds of people could potentially be affected by a serious security breach, and then you’ll have to fight your way through hell in order to fix it. It’s no joke – a serious cyber-attack can mess up your business for good, and utterly ruin your reputation.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Now that you know what can happen if you aren’t protected from security breaches, it’s time to find out whether there are any effective ways that you can stop this from happening. Sadly, data breaches are something that will never go away and they can always happen under the right circumstances. No security system is perfect and there are always people who are smart enough to break them, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options through which you can thoroughly minimize the chance of this happening. Here are a few things that you should be looking out for:
First and foremost, you absolutely must be running a good anti-virus program on your server. If you have malware on your PC, you’re already risking a whole lot by not doing anything about it. A virus is one of the easiest ways that a hacker can steal your data without you even knowing about it, and that can be very dangerous indeed. So before you do anything else, take a look at a top best antivirus software list (there are a lot of them on the Internet) and find a good anti-virus that appeals to you. Most anti-virus programs even come with a built-in firewall and some kind of real-time protection, which means that it’ll stop viruses before they’re even executed on your computer.
Security Health Checks
There are a few standard security health check controls that you can implement, just to make sure that your security is at a good level. These health checks are based on various data breaches that have happened to companies in the past, and can give you a good idea of everything that you should take care of so your website remains safe. These are things like limiting data access to certain employees, educating both yourself and your employees about the dangers of data breaches, reading up on the laws concerning data security, etc.
A great way to make sure that your website is not accessed by a malicious third party is to make it harder for them to log in, in the event that your login information is stolen. You can accomplish this with two-step authentication, which forces the user to input an extra piece of information along with your password before they can access your account. This is usually an SMS code that you get every time you input your password – and of course, you get a new code every time, and once it’s used it doesn’t work for any further logins. And remember to change up your password and your other login data often, at least once a month – that goes for all your employees, as well.
Make a Disaster Plan
As we already mentioned, sometimes a data breach is simply unavoidable, so you should definitely have a plan in case it happens; have your attorney update your terms of service so you can’t be held completely accountable in the event of a security breach. That’s not to say that you won’t be sued or that your reputation isn’t going to suffer, but it’ll definitely make the nightmare a little more bearable in the long run.
Information security is definitely something to be taken seriously nowadays, and it should be treated as such at all times. There’s no need to wait for a breach to happen before you start worrying about it, and such a mindset can save you a lot of grief in the long run. I wish you the best of luck with your business and hope that your security remains solid. I also that this article has taught you all that you need to know about information security, and just how it is actually important for a growing business such as yours.
Adam Ferraresi started his career as a web developer and he loves his job from the day one. With time, as he progressed with his skill, he found his passion for writing about many different topics concerning web development. From that time, he has expanded his views and is now writing on all sorts of different subjects. Adam is also a trusted writer of wefollowtech.com. He’s stationed in Dallas, where he spends his free time playing guitar and cooking for his friends.