Online business safety is a serious concern. Every day, millions of personal and financial data records are stolen by hackers. Cyber-criminals have become more aggressive in recent years, targeting small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. The latest report from the National White Collar Crime Center shows that cybercrime is on the rise with an estimated loss of $1.4 trillion a year. A successful online business needs to provide a secure environment for customers to shop with you. Consider a few ways that you can keep your online business secure when dealing with customers.
1. Use A Security Process
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Asking for customers to create an account or to perform an identity verification can secure your business and your customer. Verification can determine if they used a valid credit card, or if it is a bot. You can also set up a system where when customers place their order where they can be shown a unique identifier number. The next time that a customer places an order you can find the number and verify who they are. This system can help when you have to chargeback a customer or refund them because of fraudulent charges.
This also helps the customer keep track of their order, when it shipped and when it is arriving. Most companies make this information available to the customer, for ease of mind. Having the ability to also give refunds if the items need to be returned etc. There are so many ways in which using a validation process and using tracking information can help set up your business for success in the future. Make sure that you use a high-quality verification process. Also, make sure that your checkout information is safe and secure for your customers.
2. Keep Operating Systems Updated
Operating systems often get updates for security purposes. You need to make sure that you keep your systems updated at all times, This is especially true with your server OS and your website’s OS. If someone is able to hack into your server they can probably gain access to other servers on the network. You will want to make sure that you’re using the latest version of all of your products to protect your data well. The software should be updated at least weekly and as often as possible.
Updating your equipment is going to ensure that your companies data, as well as your customer’s data, is stored securely. It will also give you peace of mind as you continuously keep information stored in a way that is not easily hacked. Even if you are a smaller company, it would be wise to invest in keeping these operating systems updated for security purposes.
3. Be Careful About Free Software
Free versions of programs are open-sourced, which means that those programs can be downloaded by anyone without paying a licensing fee. Since anyone can gain access to the code, it is usually riddled with security flaws. You don’t want to use these kinds of software because they can easily be hacked and used against you. When you’re downloading a new program, make sure that you read reviews from your industry or other trusted sources. If there aren’t any reviews for the software then it might not be the best option.
In some cases, people are using free software because they don’t know about better products. When you’re considering using a software program, you should speak with someone from the company directly so that they can explain the technology and possible security risks. You will want to be sure that there are no security issues before proceeding.
4. Use A Virtual Private Network
Exposing your customers’ personal and financial data is just asking for trouble. One of the most effective ways to protect your business is with a virtual private network (VPN). Essentially, this is just another server that sits between your customers and you. It’s only accessible by those inside the network, and it will allow you to encrypt the customer’s information so that no one can see it while it is in transit. A VPN concentrator can help you develop even more secure connections between VPN nodes. This technology is used all over the world by businesses and government agencies, and it’s essential for anyone who has servers online.
5. Check All Network Traffic
You need to keep an eye on your network traffic at all times. You need to be aware of everything that is going on in your server room because this may be how a hacker gains access to your customers’ information. Check the data traffic that is coming from your servers as well as those that are going out of your business. The Tech Republic reports that businesses can use advanced data management solutions for a higher level of protection. You may also want to consider having someone else monitor your servers, but you should still look at the information on a regular basis.
Cybercrime is not going away anytime soon, but you don’t have to wait to protect yourself any longer. The good news is that there are things you can do to protect yourself, your customers, and your online business today. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s more important than ever that you work to keep your business secure if you want to turn a profit. Having the right security setup can reduce your financial risks and give you peace of mind and protection.