In an increasingly demanding economy where time and efficiency are crucial, it's incumbent on small business owners to ensure their proverbial ducks are in a row. Perhaps none of those ducks are more important than security, namely cybersecurity. Having e-commerce protection for both consumers and owners is essential to ensure your business doesn't suffer from potential privacy breaches. In partnership with Intact Insurance, we’ve identified five reasons why cybersecurity should be top priority for your business.
1. Protect your business from phishing schemes
One of the biggest online foes for small businesses are phishing schemes. According to this 2019 US report, one in every 99 emails is a phishing scheme. This is when a scammer pretends to be a legitimate company or individual in the hopes of receiving your personal, banking or credit card information. Opening these emails can open up a Pandora’s box of problems. It’s important that business owners and employees recognize certain characteristics of these emails to avoid being a victim. If you don’t recognize the company or name of the sender, don’t open on the email. If you’re still unsure, try calling the company directly to verify the authenticity of the email.
“Invest in the ongoing training of your employees and managers to be able to recognize phishing scams,” recommends Yan Lacoursière, Senior Loss Prevention Consultant at Intact Insurance. Scammers use the human aspect to trick you (lack of knowledge and kindness, for example). “Remember, when in doubt, don’t click on anything and don’t give away any sensitive information,” he says.
2. Protect your business from denial of service attacks
Cybersecurity has also grown in stature due to the fact that phones and tablets can do everything traditional computers can. However, it also opens other avenues for risks from outside computers including a DDoS, or distributed denial of service attack. It’s a malicious attempt to crash one’s server by flooding the website with too much traffic. A strong preventive measure would be to use a cloud-based DDoS mitigation service – it’s what keeps a website running during an attack. Offloading server functionality to a cloud platform allows it to filter through malicious traffic before it reaches you.
3. Protect your business from online hackers
No matter the size of the company or its location, the looming threat of hackers stealing sensitive information is very real. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, nearly one in five small businesses (18%) have been affected by a cyber attack or data breach in the last two years. This not only applies to your company’s website but all social media and email accounts, too. Avoid the online threat by changing passwords regularly (every 30 or 60 days is recommended) and disabling auto-fill forms. Store data in a virtual data room and hide admin pages from search engines, so hackers can’t find it easily. Above all else, keep your operating system and antivirus programs up to date to stay protected from malware.
4. Protect your business from wi-fi eavesdropping
By default, wi-fi is not secure. Hotspots don’t use encryption, providing no protection at all when on a public network. So, if you’re working remotely, the best way to secure data is to connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN). By doing this, every activity on your or your employees’ computers is sent through an encrypted tunnel, making it extremely hard for anyone to eavesdrop and capture any passwords, emails and file transfers.
5. Have the right insurance when all else fails
The cost of repairing a breach and covering legal expenses could set you and your company back. Contact your broker to learn how privacy breach coverage can manage the impact caused by theft, loss, or unauthorized access to your customers’ or employees’ personal information. Running a small business online can be both overwhelming and exciting. By staying informed and taking the right steps, you can ensure the safety of your business, employees and clients’ data. Not only that, you’ll be able to watch your business grow into something truly magnificent.
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