This is a guest post by Oliver Macpherson. If you are interested to guest post in this blog, just head over to the Guest Post Guidelines.
It’s important to protect online businesses from hackers. As technology is more advanced so are the skills of outside sources. One security breach can put a dampener on the whole business. Financial records, customers’ personal information, confidential documents and more can end up in the wrong person’s hands. In 2008 over 285 million records were compromised. Crime can happen from the inside and outside—from outside sources to company employees. But businesses need to know every move to protect their investment. There are ten ways to do this.
1. Password Protection
A strong password is an important level of security. If done correctly it can be a powerful solution that’s hard for hackers to crack. The best way to do it is to create an 8-12 character combination of numbers, symbols, lowercase and uppercase letters. Don’t ever use personal data that relates to you (i.e., birthday, SSN, address), common words spelled backwards, characters that are close on the keyboard (i.e., 12345, QWERTY) and a character sequence (i.e., 1111, ababab, qq1qq1). Change the password every three months; do this more frequently is data is highly sensitive. Never share the password and never write down the chosen password.
A firewall is a level of protection that controls internet traffic going into and going away from the source. The source is the online business. Online businesses need the strongest firewall available with the most protection.
3. Virus Protection
With a firewall comes virus protection. It is the standard of protection every computer must have. Every computer and mobile device needs some kind of virus protection to keep computers from dangerous viruses, Trojan horses, malicious URLs, malware and more. Not only should computers have antivirus software businesses needs antispyware and antimalware software to catch the ones the antivirus software may miss. Businesses need as much protection for their investment as possible.
4. Update Software
Every software installed on the computer needs to be updated. That means installing the latest updates to patch faulty mistakes and to make the software run faster and smoothly. Whether the updates are set to be automatic or manual the updates are an easy way to keep the business secure. It is not 100 per cent fool-proof but the more the software is updated the less likely hackers will find a hole to crack into the system.
5. Protect Laptops
Laptops must be protected because people can easily steal them. Add a password and encryption to the laptop so the thief will have to take extra steps to get to company information. Never leave the laptop in places where thieves can see them. If it is out in the open conceal it in a place where it can’t be seen. Examples are the car and in a public area.
6. Protect Mobile Devices
The mobile phone must be secured with password protection, encryption software and enabled remote wiping. Remote wiping is effective because it wipes the phone of all information so hackers can’t use it for their own gain. There should be a lockout period on the phone as well. This should lock the phone if the phone isn’t used within a certain amount of time.
7. Data Backup
Everything created online should come with a backup copy in an external hard drive. Scheduling backups is a great way to make sure data created is safely stored. Backup computers and servers weekly and have incremental backups nightly.
8. Monitor Activity
Keep a watchful eye on everything that goes on in the online business. The company can stop suspicious activity before it gets worse. Use data leakage prevention software to look for information leaving the network. The configurations can be key touch points like customer payment information, customer personal information, codes and data relevant to the business.
9. Monitor Email, IM and Web Activity
Keep a watchful eye on every email, IM and web activity. Don’t open suspicious emails and don’t click on suspicious links in emails and instant messages. Malware is on the other side of those links. Take every warning on the search engine results page and other websites with extreme caution.
10. Web Security
Protect the website itself by adding SSL encryption for pages. This is a secure site that will show customers that their information will be protected. Stop phishing by having a seal on the login page that customers can create.
About the Author: Oliver Macpherson has worked for an ssl cert provider for the past 10 years and believes in the importance of protecting confidential data where possible. He currently works for SSL247.