Whether your company is small, midsize or large, you have a target on your back simply by the fact that you are an entrepreneur. If thieves can get their hands on your products, services, and especially information that will lead to a financial windfall for them, you can be singled out at any moment.
With that in mind, it behooves business owners to make sure they have their backs and the backs of their customers covered at all times. Remember, it just takes one slip-up for a hacker to make your life and your financial life miserable.
Be Pro-Active and Not Reactive
In order to make sure your Internet security is protected as much as possible from hackers (namely identity theft thieves), keep these tidbits in mind:
- Be Pro-active – The last thing you want to do as a business owner is always be reacting to things, notably hackers. It is no secret that hacking is a profession for countless men and women, many of whom don’t care if you play by the rules or not. In order to decrease the chances of being financially hit, make sure you update your Internet protection software regularly. Look for cracks and kinks in its armor, thereby hopefully seeing them before thieves do. Just as you would use the appropriate computer software to limit your kids’ access to reaching inappropriate websites on your home computer, the same care and concern must be done for your business site. The goal here is to make sure no one is getting through to your company website without your approval;
- Watch for employee red flags – While it would be comforting to think that all of your employees can always be trusted with sensitive company and customer data, it has proven time and time again that that is not the case. Even though you might think that the attack or attacks will come from the outside, many businesses have unfortunately discovered otherwise. Lessen the chances your business will become a victim by making sure you hire the best and brightest employees. If during the interview process you catch any red flags (past firings from jobs for disciplinary reasons such as stealing from employers and/or hacking websites, run-ins with the law etc.), think twice about bringing on that applicant as an employee. Also be sure to alert all employees once they are under your employ that in no shape or form will you tolerate illegal activities, notably as they relate to misusing company or customer data. If someone is caught doing just that, let it be known they could lose their job and potentially face criminal charges;
- Be careful with outsourcing – While outsourcing business tasks is something many businesses do on a regular basis, this is another area where one must proceed with caution. Let’s say you outsource some or all of your accounting or client marketing needs to save on some of the workload for your in-house staff. In doing so, you provide the individual or individuals who will be working on accounting and client marketing sensitive data etc. It could be weeks or even months before you discover someone is then using that data for illegal purposes. Along with the financial hit to you and some of your customers, the public relations mess now on your hands is just as bad. Make sure you thoroughly research who you might outsource work to in order to lessen the odds they will be a problem for you and your clients down the road.
Running a business these days of course carries risks, risks that you sometimes have little control over.
When it comes to protecting your business website (both from outside and inside threats), you do have more control than you might think.
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About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology issues on the web.