Businesses, in person or online, need to be secure. How do companies secure online business? During these uncertain times, starting a new endeavor can be tricky. But many of the newest entrepreneurs are electing to get their venture started on the internet, as opposed to a brick and mortar store or service. Many are thriving and saving money by limiting the overhead of a structure, often working from home. It is a smart solution in places where real estate for companies are expensive like Chicago and New York.
But, just as an unwanted intruder can burglarize a store, an online store can also be penetrated by hackers and other cyber threats intent on stealing customer information and currencies. That is why, even though your business is little more than a laptop, having the right security to prevent cyber-attacks is crucial.
Security That Works
There are a handful of secure business ideas to protect your online interests that are perfectly legal. Things like enhanced firewalls and employing white-hat hackers will work but let’s cover a few others just if that seems a little shady to the average entrepreneur.
1. Legalize It
Someone can threaten your shop to claim they owned it first or try to steal your name. Once you pick the name, secure it legally, and buy a domain. This way, no one can say you took their idea. Having a registered entity name is legally binding. This is one of the all-time great ways to use secure business options to your advantage.
2. Protect Yourself
Many online businesses start as a solo mission, but eventually, they grow. You want to separate your assets from your business assets and registering as an LLC is the best way to do that. With an LLC, if your business suddenly fails, your personal assets are not affected.
3. Insure It
There is insurance available for everything. Heidi Klum’s legs are insured for two million dollars. So, why not insure your company. Even online stores have liability issues. And hypothetically, let’s say you are enhancing your home office for improved efficiency and a handyman falls off a ladder while running Ethernet cable. For a secure business at home as well as a secure business online, it is vital that you cover everyone, and insurance is the way to do it.
4. Keep a Sharp Eye
Jimmy Johns makes a mean sandwich, and they do it freaky fast. That was until the owner was seen on Facebook posing near a Rhino he killed for sport. His image took a nosedive, and thus, so did his interests. As the owner, your word, your integrity, is gold. So, don’t let it get tarnished by giving your brand a reason to suffer. Keep an eye on what you do online. Everyone is watching, and they will have something to say about it.
5. Get It In Writing
Gone are the days of handshake deals over a beer or a glass of good scotch. Now, if you want to be covered, contracts, legally binding, and lawfully drawn up, are the way things are done. If you do anything for your business or work with anyone who will affect your interests, have a contract drawn up and make sure you have a witness or notary present.
6. Vigilance is Key
Never become complacent and think that you aren’t a target because you are a niche or too small to be noticed. The instant you take your eye off the ball, that is when it hits you in the head. A secure business system only works if every part is running efficiently, including the proprietor doing their job and looking for possible threats.
7. Back That Thing Up
Computers now back up pretty much everything automatically. They do this because we forget to do it ourselves. But the backups, even on the cloud, can be deleted by a savvy hacker. An excellent secure business solution is to have an external drive that can also be used to back up important information. After it is uploaded, unplug it from the primary system. It isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, so unless it is plugged in, it is impenetrable.
The White Hat Option
There is one other solution that is a little out of the box but will work and will cost you. If you want a secure business from cyber-attacks, having someone on the payroll that knows the ins and outs of that world could be useful, but this falls into a gray area of legality.
White hat hackers are penetration testing pros that work to secure firewalls and check security protocols for paying customers who want to feel secure. They are legal independent contractors, so as long as you are paying them, the work they do is above board.
The problem comes in when the contract is complete, and they go to their next job. Hackers, even benevolent ones, are hard to trust. And we are all human. So how can you know if they have your best interests in mind when safeguarding your secure business data?
Before they begin, get references if you can. Monitor their activities and establish a bond. Hacking code is as complicated as any other language with different text, like Mandarin or Sand Scrit. Having another savvy computer person who can speak the language might be helpful, even if they aren’t as good as your contracted white hat.
Conclusion: The two most significant things to protect are customer information and business finance records. If your customers know your names and your money are protected, they will return. If they cannot trust you to do your due diligence, then the relationship breaks down. Never let complacency and laziness enter your mind. Your interests depend on it. Have you had any experience with security threats on your online site?
Matt has an e-commerce store and takes his protecting his customer’s information very seriously. He knows that failure to do that is a failure to ensure his store’s future and, thus, failing himself. Failure is not an option, and he doesn’t believe in complacency.
Chris Delgado is a certified Family Financial Planner and a competent financial advisor on spending, investing, and business start-ups. When he’s not working, he’s somewhere exploring the greater outdoors or tweeting about financial matters. Chris also holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate.