From internet access to email to online payroll software, businesses are becoming more and more dependent on online services. These services offer convenience and instant access to accounts and can save your business time and money.
However, using these services also opens up your company to the risk of internet hackers. These hackers are especially prevalent in the United States, where nearly one-third of the world’s hacks originate, according to an infographic over at Gadgets and Gizmos.
These risks may seem daunting and incomprehensible, but there are positive, concrete steps you can take to prevent them from affecting your business.
Keep Your Computers Safe
Most computers nowadays come with software to protect your computer from basic hackers and unauthorized access attempts. However, this software becomes less secure over time as hackers learn their way around it. For this reason, your computer’s software needs to be frequently updated to offer the best protection from illegal access.
- If your computer is not set to automatically update as changes become available, set it to do so. Your computer will download and install updates as soon as they become available, and prevent your computer from becoming dangerously out-of-date.
- Always follow your computer’s instructions if it pops up with a request to update or reboot.
- Check your computer’s updates manually from time to time to make sure you haven’t missed any updates or pop-ups.
Keep Your Online Accounts Safe
You have a choice over which online services your company utilizes, so be sure to use the ones that come with the best security. Hackers can infiltrate login pages to steal your account information. Ask your internet service provider if it utilizes the following safety measures:
- Make sure your online service accounts have the SSL (secure sockets layer) installed in their log-in page to keep your login activity secure.
- The VeriSign Global Site Certificate, often used in conjunction with SSL, adds another extra layer of protection to your login.
You can also download software to your computer to protect your online interactions. Safe Surfing for Mac and Titanium Internet Security are two examples of programs that you can purchase and install to prevent hackers from accessing your online activities.
Keep Your Passwords Safe
The fastest, cheapest, and ultimately most important security measure is your password. It’s easy to get attached to one password and keep using it, or to use simple passwords that are easy to remember. Weak passwords are the easiest thing for hackers to break to get into your accounts, but strong passwords are the easiest way to repel hackers.
- Change your passwords every 3-6 months so that hackers have less time and fewer chances to crack the code.
- Make your password hard to crack by increasing its complexity. Use upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. For best results, make your password longer than 6 characters.
- Don’t use your or your family’s names or birthdays in your password. That and other common information is easy for hackers to find online and gives them an advantage in hacking your accounts.
Be sure you and your employees know how to change your passwords and keep your computers updates. Communicate with your service providers to ensure that they’re using the best security practices. You can take action to protect your company from hackers and prevent problems caused by loss of personal and sensitive information.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as security systems.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is the founder of Technology Blogged. 23, with a love for good writing, you'll find Jakk playing 'Drag Racing' on his Nexus 5 and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to his feed for unique editorials. Find me on Google+. View author profile.