For any business conducting online transactions, it’s vital to reassure your customer base that you’re taking every step possible to protect their personal and financial data. A security breach is not only devastating for your own bottom line, but leaking customer data can do serious damage to your brand’s reputation. Customers will look for alternatives if they think your website isn’t safe. With that in mind, here are a few proactive steps you can take.
1. Add multiple layers of protection to your site.
There’s a multitude of programs out there to help safeguard your online data, so make use of them. You might want to consider using a dedicated server to boost cyber security, as this reduces the chance that the site will be hacked by outsiders. You should also always encrypt your data, and add firewalls whenever possible. Hackers are always searching for easy targets. A server that’s locked up tight will be harder to get into, and they’ll be more likely to look elsewhere. You can use a malware monitoring service like Dasient or HackAlert to get alerted immediately should your site be compromised, so that you can take swift action.
2. Stay on top of upgrades.
Software and anti-malware programs are updated regularly. You’ll need the latest versions of all of these programs to be able to block the most current threats. Hackers will have already found ways to break into older programs. Cyber security is constantly shifting, so you need the most current protection.
3. Limit employee access to sensitive information.
Keep customer data on a need-to-know basis. Protect all office computers with passwords, and change these regularly to ensure that only individuals who are authorized to use them have access to your client data. If you use cloud services, you may also want to put up additional layers of protection so that employees aren’t able to access private records on public networks, like at a café or airport.
4. Shop around for secure providers and networks.
If you use a web host, be sure to shop around first to find one that puts security at a premium. Features should include anti-virus and anti-spyware software, firewalls, and other features. Find out who else is sharing the server and where the centre of operations are located. When looking at networks or cloud services to use, whether it’s Nokia Networks or Verizon, look at the security measures put in place before signing any contract.
6. Delete what you don’t need with a wiping program.
Are you storing sensitive client data that you don’t really need? Get rid of it. This involves more than simply hitting the delete button, however. To permanently remove data, you’ll need to use a wiping program. Examples of these include Freeraser, File Shredder, or Active KillDisk. Paper documents should be shredded as well.
7. Put an emergency plan in place.
Even with your best intentions, something may go wrong. It’s important not to panic! Be sure to have an emergency plan already in place, which should include notifying your customers immediately so that they can take actions to protect themselves.