There are a lot of hurdles that exist when trying to get the ball rolling with your small business. The logistics of everything involved in the setup is no walk in the park on its own, but perhaps one of the biggest hurdles you have to worry about is making sure that your customers are protected and satisfied. There is nothing that can sink a company faster than if it loses the trust of its users. To help avoid that, we will discuss some things small businesses need to know about securing users’ data.
Important things to Know About Data Security for Small Businesses
How common are Cyber Security Attacks on Small Businesses?
While small businesses do not have the reputation that would cause them to be a target like a larger company would, there is one thing that counters that. Namely, a lot of small businesses have inadequate security, meaning that, when a bad actor tries to get access to the business’s website or server, they will have better luck succeeding. In 2022, more than 60 percent of small-to-medium-sized businesses face a cybersecurity attack. Only some of these were successful, but it goes to show just how many of these businesses have a target on their backs.
What is perhaps most harrowing is just how damaging cybersecurity attacks are. If a company faces a successful cybersecurity attack, 60 percent of these companies go bankrupt within six months.
How Can you keep your Customers’ Data Protected?
When a person uses your small business website, there are a number of different pieces of data that may be saved. This includes the user’s location, name, email address, and most importantly, payment details (including credit card numbers). A cybersecurity attack that ends up leaking any of this information can be enough to ruin your business, as a cybersecurity attack that results in this causes significant harm to your brand and reputation. It is possible to recover from an attack and reputation damage, but the best way to survive a PR disaster is to never let it become a disaster in the first place.
The first method you should employ is to have a strong security system to protect your website. As even many of the biggest companies out there can tell you, there is no foolproof system that protects you 100 percent of the time. However, at the same time, a security system that protects your customers’ data most of the time is better than having no security at all.
One of the biggest small business website failings is when the website is not kept up to date. Always have the software and plugins up to date, especially since both of these can become vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks.
Another thing you should make sure your website has is HTTPS and an SSL certificate. This allows your URL to be more secure, thereby securing your overall website. You should also have a strong password assigned to your website, reducing the risk that a bad actor may access your website by brute forcing it via a password. You should also have a CISO security official to help strengthen your security.
A major aspect of handling your customers’ data is to ensure that it is not stored on-site by having the data encrypted. This ensures that, in the event that your website does experience a cybersecurity attack, getting access to your data will be significantly more difficult for the bad actors. While encrypting the payment information is perhaps the most important thing you can do, you should also make sure that all user information is kept safe as well.
Be Crystal Clear About How User Data is Utilized
Besides a cybersecurity attack doing harm to your reputation, it is also important that your users understand exactly how it is going to be used, and how it is not. This can be done by providing a form detailing how data is used, as well as offering them the opportunity to accept or reject such data usage. You may also allow them to choose to opt-in or opt-out of data usage while still allowing them to use your website and your services.
What is Phishing?
Small business owners face many of the same kinds of attacks that a regular person does, with significantly more to lose if they fall victim to one. For example, a common attack is phishing, which is a type of attack that involves sending a fake link to get your password and email. Once they have this, they not only gain access to whatever website they were mimicking, but if you use the same password across a lot of websites, they may be able to get access to even more.