Cyber Attacks: Guide to Protecting Yourself

Don’t wait until the next major retail data breach to evaluate your cyber security measures. These strategies can help protect your small business’ information and your customers privacy.

Keeping your information safe and secure in the digital age is an extremely important responsibility—especially when you own a small business. You might have sensitive financial information for your company stored on your devices, or personal data from customers who are counting on you to keep it safe. In any case, you’ll want to make sure you and your e-commerce shop never fall victim to a cyber-attack or suffer a security breach.

Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your cyber security and tighten up your network. We’re going to share with you a few of our favorites so that you can pick and choose the strategies most applicable to your business.

Before You Start: Assess Your Security Needs

Before we start, here’s a note on how to choose from among the techniques we’re about to share with you. The very first thing you should do before you read any further is think about the kind of security risks your business faces so that you’ll be able to match solutions to them.

Do you run an e-commerce platform for a service business? Then you’ll want to pay specific attention to the device-level data security practices that appear in this list. That’s because service businesses usually have their contractors operate on a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) basis. Instead of purchasing new smartphones or tablets for each of the people who carry out work on your behalf, you probably allow them to use their own. That can open you up to a lot of risk.

E-commerce retailers usually have to worry more about customer data and network security, since you’ll likely be storing personal information for many different people. If you’re one of these, focus on the points below that have to do with data storage and securing connections.

We’ve taken the liberty of separating these categories for you, but it’s important to understand why your priorities should be tied to the specifics of your organization. Now that you have that in mind, let’s jump in.

Data Security for E-Commerce Service Businesses

Monitor permissions closely: if someone in your organization doesn’t need access to a specific piece of hardware or software, don’t let them have it. You’re not being paranoid—you’re just lowering risk. Even if all of your employees are completely trustworthy, they’re capable of errors in judgment and simple mistakes. Don’t open yourself up to that kind of risk.
Set standards for passwords: your employees might be using their own devices, but any time they access one of your programs they should need to use a password that meets your standards. Encourage your team members to change their passwords on a regular basis, and to choose new ones that are highly secure.
Encrypt the data you send between devices: no matter how careful you are, there will always be a possibility that someone else could gain access to a device owned by yourself or one of your organization’s members. If that’s the case, you want to make sure they won’t be able to understand anything they’re seeing. Having your data encrypted is an excellent way to make sure that no one without a key will be able to use anything they see on one of the devices your business uses.

Data Security for E-Commerce Retailers

Don’t collect necessary information: just because you can collect huge amounts of consumer data, that doesn’t mean you should. Credit card data can actually be stolen very easily—so if you don’t need to keep it, don’t.
Separate your customer data from your business documents: chances are, there are more people who need to access data belonging to your company than there are people who need to access data belonging to your customers. Permissions for each type of information should obviously be different, but it’s actually a good idea to store them in entirely different places. Choose a separate network for your customer data and make sure only authorized personnel can access it.
Check all devices that might be on your network. The Internet of Things gave network access to all kinds of devices, not just laptops and smartphones. Your photocopiers and printers can probably connect to the internet, and they probably have internal hard drives. If they’re saving copies of everything that goes through them to those drives automatically, they could represent an easy way for hackers to steal sensitive information. Make sure you’re sweeping them on a regular basis and deactivating any automatic functions that could put you at risk.
Consider the strategies above and how they might fit into your business. If you do, you’ll probably find several ways in which you can tighten up cyber security at your company and reduce risk for the people who trust you to keep their data safe.


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