For their abilities to help a business run smoothly and thrive, today's Internet-related technologies leave business owners wondering if the companies they have worked so hard to build are truly safe in cyberspace. Here, we take a look at weak spots, and how you can protect your business and your clients.
Potential Cyber Security Weak Spots:
- Email - Non-secure email is sent through the web without encryption, making it as potentially visible as, say, a postcard sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Verify that your email is secure by making sure the "https//:" phrase is always visible in the URL bar; it should precede the address of your email provider.
- Websites - Non-secure websites are also places in cyberspace in which businesses can be vulnerable. Apply the same rule to websites that you do for email: look for the "https//:" in the URL. If it isn't there, don't have anything to do with that site, as any information you share on it may not be secure.
- Browsers - Make sure your Internet browser (for example, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer) is up to date. Most browsers will let you know when they're due for an update, but you can always check by clicking on your computer's software update option to see what needs to be brought up to speed. An up-to-date browser has all the latest additions that maximize your security and protection online. An out-of-date browser makes you more vulnerable to cutting-edge viruses, hackers, and the like.
- Virus Protection - Speaking of viruses, let's not forget adware, malware, spyware, and all the other futuristic-sounding threats to security that are very much a present-day reality. Install a protection program on your computer if you haven't already, and try not to open suspicious-seeming emails that land in your junk folder because your email has deemed them "unsafe."
- Passwords - Be wary of sharing passwords. Chances are, not everyone in your employ needs to know every password. Change passwords routinely once a month is not excessive and always after an employee with knowledge of a password has left your company. Create complex passwords with capital and lower case letters as well as numbers.
- Third parties - Think carefully and do serious research before allowing any third party a tech company, a consultant access to your customers' information. Even the most seemingly helpful, educated, expert third parties can also be identity thieves, or be interested in selling your customers' info to identity thieves. Check references and proceed with caution before letting other pairs of eyes fall on your company's precious data.
- Wi-Fi networks - Make sure your company's Wi-Fi network is private, not open for others who wish to have Internet access free of charge. Lock it and change the password required to access it frequently.