Small business owners often juggle scarce resources and time is always in short supply. Day to day operations must be balanced with future growth. You must also have perspective to capitalize on opportunities that are not always obvious.
Unfortunately with busy and hectic lives businesses can accidentally overlook internet security. Cleaning up online hacking is often expensive and time consuming, which compounds the problem. Thankfully, you can better protect sensitive data with a few practical steps.
Here are some tips:
Password Security- More than just your logins:
Creating a secure password goes beyond logging in. Password recovery is also crucial but often overlooked. You should manage Facebook, Google+ and other social media posts with security in mind, as well.
Password Recovery Questions:
Pet names, maiden names and colleges are typical recovery questions. Most folks give straightforward answers to these recoveries. However, cyber crooks can find this info through basic internet searches or social media.
Our Facebook posts tout favorite teams, education and beloved pets. Otherwise, public records often have what is needed for generic recovery questions.
Best Practices for Password Recovery:
Instead of direct answers, use a random combo of letters, symbols and numbers.
Example: What is your Favorite Sports Team?: Answer: W90%LO!
Storing Your Passwords:
Make sure to securely store your answers. How? Instead of your hard drive, consider apps that encrypt stored data. Computer viruses can take over your computer and compromise passwords. You should avoid using the same password for different logins to minimize damage if a single account is cracked.
Business owners should have separate social media for personal and company use. Aside from better credibility, you limit sensitive data that could give hackers access to business credit and other finances.
Despite these efforts, hackers may still connect businesses and owners on social media.
Solutions? You may choose to limit who can see what on personal Facebook posts. This keeps everyday thoughts, family and background to a limited audience.
Options to manage your social media settings:
Hide past posts
Limit how you can be tagged by others
Control how searchable your profile is
The tougher you make it to ‘connect dots’ between business and personal matters, crooks will likely move on for easier targets.
Don’t Click That Link! Phishing and Email Scams:
Online scams continue to grow in scale and damage. While most of us can ferret out blatant phishing, crafty hackers require more discretion.
Emails from brand name companies typically catch our eye. An email from your bank about a business loan application catches attention.
Instead of yourxyxbank.com, a phishing email may be your-xyxz-bank.com. The link in the email may ask you to log in for an important message. Once the victim enters their username and password, the account is hacked.
Solutions to Email and Phishing scams:
Hover your mouse over the link .The destination URL will appear at the bottom of your screen. Take the time to ensure the URL is not bogus.
Simply do not click links. If you get an email from your bank or other accounts, simply log in directly at the company sites.
Call your bank directly for the slightest hesitation.
Mobile Virtual Private Network (VPN):
Mobile devices and connectivity have become small business essentials. Many entrepreneurs work from home and meet clients at Wi-Fi hot spots. Despite the convenience, unsecured networks raise concerns of online security.
A mobile VPN encrypts your web activity, which increases password and login security. You can prevent online snooping that gives access to data or bank accounts that contain social security numbers.
If you have remote employees, a VPN allows workers to securely access company resources from wherever they may be.
Downloading is a convenient and affordable way to access resources. Bit Torrent apps are popular ways to download videos, photos and data. The service allows peer to peer sharing of files.
Beyond copyright issues, you should avoid bootleg downloads that often have malware, such as trojan computer viruses. As an alternative, you can choose from legitimate sites with licensing rights. Much of the services are free and you have greater peace of mind.
Technology is a valuable tool to improve your business. While this is most thought of in revenues, internet security is also a vital aspect of small business success.