#Cybersecurity: Are You Keeping Your Business Safe?

cybersecurityDo you stay awake at night worrying that your business website could be hacked at any moment?

The answer to that question is hopefully a resounding no, though many business owners know otherwise.

Cyber-attacks are unfortunately here and not going anywhere anytime soon.

With that being the case, what your business does to keep a step ahead of cyber-criminals can mean the difference between running a healthy business and overseeing one on the brink of disaster.

Say No to Cyber-Criminals

As reports have shown in recent years, cyber-attacks against businesses have not only been notable in terms of the names of the companies, but also financially costly.

For those individuals running smaller companies that do not get the limelight of the bigger brands, avoid the mentality of thinking it can’t happen to you. In fact, smaller businesses are oftentimes targeted because cyber-criminals have the impression that the smaller brands will not invest as much time and money into online security.

With that being the thought, how can your business pass the test in staying safe and maintaining customer faith?

Some of the practices you should be deploying include:

  • Employee awareness – It is crucial that you and your employees are on the same page when it comes to protecting your online data. While there are a number of measures to be put in place, it is your employees who prove to be the first line of defense. That said it is those same workers who must be trusted upon to carry out their duties without any criminal aspirations of their own. Unfortunately, data theft by cyber-criminals from within the company is certainly not unheard of. Think about it; employees have much better access to company data (including that of your customers) and more ease with which to obtain it. In some cases, it can be a recipe for disaster. Employees should be forewarned from the day they are hired that your business treats company data and that of your customers with the utmost importance and integrity. In the event an employee compromises company data, not only should they be susceptible to being disciplined and/or fired, but they could be subject to criminal prosecution. When you send the right message to employees from their first day on the job until their last, you decrease the chances of one or more of them considering doing something illegal;
  • Customer trust – In the event that your business is the victim of a cyber-attack, it is oftentimes how you react that will determine whether customers stay with you or head for the hills. Let customers know immediately how you are dealing with their personal data being compromised. If they are impacted financially, what will you do to reimburse them? What plan will be put into motion to prevent this from ever happening again? As bad as a cyber-attack is for the business owner, the customer whose data has been stolen is worse off. Let he or she know that you are on top of things and working for a fast resolution;
  • Not repeating this mistake – While it is hard to guarantee with 100 percent certainty that your business will never fall victim to cyber-attacks, learning from them (should they happen to you or other businesses) can prove quite educational. One practice you should be focusing on is seeing how other businesses defend themselves against such attacks. From having a quality server provider to being haphazard with customer data, it is typically the commonsense practices that will keep you and your brand safe. Just as you hopefully learn from marketing campaigns that fail or hiring an employee with a certain fault, you should also learn from the cyber-attacks you witness either firsthand or from afar.

With all the trials and tribulations that come with running a business in today’s super competitive world, keeping your brand safe from cyber-criminals has to be a top priority.

If it is not, you run the risk of losing customers and ultimately money.

Be proactive and always work to stay one step ahead of those looking to ruin all that you have worked so hard to build.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.