How Not to Get Hacked: 8 Security Steps for Your Small Business
Hacking is a very real danger for small businesses that go online to connect with more customers and improve their sales. Just like a physical store, your e-store or website is not safe unless you take proper precautions against fraudsters who want to steal your sensitive information, customer data or card details. Hackers often have other malicious intents too, like tarnishing your reputation by changing the website content or putting offensive messages on your customer’s screen. And they are fast too, which means you must be on your guard always to prevent security breaches and report hacking attacks whenever they happen. It is your legal obligation these days as well. So, here are 8 ways to get started:
- Be more careful about access control – You need to make your website’s admin level stronger to prevent the entry of hackers. So, request your customers to use usernames and passwords that are complex and hard to guess. Changing the database prefix from wp6 to something which is more difficult to guess is a good idea too. Put a limit on login attempts, as email accounts get hacked too nowadays and sending a password reset link numerous times can pose risk. Avoid sending login information via email, or a hacker who has gained control over the account can use it for malicious purposes.
- Never ignore updates – Installing regular updates on your system is essential if you want your security software to actually prevent hacking incidents. If you delay an update, your website will get exposed to the possibility of phishing attempts or identity thefts. Do note that hackers are constantly looking for websites that have security vulnerabilities, and once any one hacker knows how to get into your system, even others will.
- Consider installing security applications – By installing paid security applications, you can prevent hacking attacks better. They offer an extra layer of security and conceal the identity of your website’s CMS as well. These applications work very well against automated hacking tools, which go through numerous websites in an hour to look for security vulnerabilities.
- A WAF or Web Application Firewall is a must – This software or hardware based firewall is like a filter between your data connection and website server. It reads all the data that passes through it and can hence prevent hacks, malicious bots and spamming. A WAF is usually cloud-based and has complete control on the incoming traffic for your website.
- Enhance network security – There are some simple measures you can take to avoid getting hacked on a daily basis. For instance, make sure your customers as well as employees change their passwords regularly. Also, passwords should be complex, hard to guess and should never be noted down anywhere. Logins should expire if the session is inactive for a while. And every time a device is connected to a network, it should be checked for malware.
- Use a payment gateway with SSL – Every small business needs to use a secure payment gateway like PayTabs where an encrypted SSL protocol is used to transfer sensitive information between your database and website. This way, no one can read or access data like customer details or card information while they are being transferred, without proper authorization.
- Avoid free Wi-Fi – If you are connecting to the internet outside office, try using a private hotspot through your smartphone or a VPN. Stay away from free Wi-Fi connections. A VPN will first log you into a private network before you can gain access to an open network, and hence is an added layer of safety.
- Backup always – A website can sometimes become a prey to hacking attacks, despite the many security measures you take. Hence, it is wise to backup data and files every day, multiple times. Try to backup both onsite and offsite and in several locations. This way, you will still have your data if your hard drive fails.
As a small business in the online world, you need to be extra careful to keep hackers and fraudsters at bay. So, keep the above tips in mind and stay updated with steps to prevent hacking in future as well.