Some business owners, who hear news about targeted attacks, phishing scams, and sophisticated malware, would say “That will never happen to me.” Some would also say, “My business is too small for those criminals to bother with,” when they hear about data breaches, network intrusions, and website attacks. In the real world, that is a true misconception. It’s obvious that cybercriminals of our present times don’t look at the size of a company — data is still data, and even the smallest organization has valuable information that they can steal and sell. Sayings like “I’m too small for them to find me” is now a thing of the past. Most of the times, it is those small businesses that serve as a stepping point in a chain of data theft. These criminals start targeting the smaller and weaker corporations as part of their multi-national, if not global, terrorism on large-scale businesses.

With the fast rising development of attacks and modus operandi of cybercriminals, small and medium businesses are now finding it hard to keep up their defenses. Below are some simple rules SMBs can follow or consider in order to secure their online presence and operation amidst the hostile environment called the Web.

Rule #1 – Create unbreakable passwords

This is the first line of defense you can give to your business…period. Create strong passwords for accounts related to your online presence, such as the domain registrar, hosting account, social media, PayPal, and so on. Criminals can set up computers easily that can scan through random combinations to brute-force attacks. For weak and simple passwords, it will only take little time before it is deciphered by these people. Password managers can be a great tool to randomly generate strong passwords and to store them securely. Take advantage of the extra layer of protection, especially if the service offers two-factor authentication. Don’t regret implementing extra protection to your business, even if it means spending extra money, because it’s all worth it.

Rule #2 – Scan Your Sites

Just like your computer, websites can also be infected with malware. It’s a must to scan your site for any vulnerabilities and malware infection. Criminals take the opportunity to infect such sites with malware or inject malicious code that redirects visitors to fraud sites instead. Infected sites may load at a sluggish pace, display unwanted advertisements and pop-ups, and infect user computers with malware. Look for a site scanner such as StopTheHacker Web-Malware Scanning that helps you monitor your business site for problems and alert you when necessary.

Rule #3 – SSL Certificates

SSL certificates help verify your identity and is a great way for consumers to trust you as a legitimate business. Through SSL certificates, users can be assured that the information collected from them is in safe hands.

Rule #4 – Update and Patch

Another security tip you can do for your business is by updating and patching, not only your Web server, but your business site as well. Popular content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress or e-commerce platforms such as Zen Cart, must be updated on a regular basis. Plugins in WordPress are frequently targeted by attackers, so installing patches regularly is very important for every business owner to do. Verify with your hosting provider or site maintainer to find out if all the software related to your business is being updated at all times.

Rule #5 – Keep your control

Regardless of who you hire to work on your business site, your business should still and always have control of the domain name, SSL certificate, and actual site. Normally, business owners hire a personnel to build their website, and when that person leaves the company, the owner is left in the puddle with no access to the SSL, domain name, and hosting account. It’s more difficult to add people to the account or transfer ownership if the main account holder is not around. If you are planning to outsource a third party to build and maintain your business site, make sure you or someone within the organization is on the accounts to retain control. If in case the person who is leaving is the one who has access to the accounts, make sure to assign a new personnel to the accounts beforehand. With this in mind, you will still be able to manage your certificate, domain name, and hosting account.

Security your business is something that should not be taken lightly. Security threats can come from all directions as technology improves over time, therefore it is important that a company maintains business security solutions that can effectively do the job. With these five simple guidelines, business owners can make sure their site visitors can safely visit, search, enter personal information, and complete a transaction.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 10:11:37 PM and is filed under Computer Security & Data Protection, Small-Medium Business, Tech Tips & Tricks.

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