How Secure Are Your Online Activities?

online_securityFor today’s business owner, he or she has much to concern themselves with, not the least of which is making sure their online activities are as secure as can be.

As news details make note of on what seems like a monthly basis, one reads of this company or that company being hacked. When that happens, the company’s brand can take a temporary or permanent hit.

With that in mind, what are you doing to best secure your company’s online activities?

Better yet, what are you not doing to secure online movements?

From Paper to Online, Security is a Must

With many smaller businesses (notably medical practices) going from paper to online to manage their documents, it is imperative that they secure their websites.

While there are numerous means by which a small business can better secure its online activities, here are a few that should never be taken for granted:

  • Server protection – First and foremost, make sure the server your small business uses is as fully protected as possible. If your server provider can’t guarantee security is the number one priority for them, look elsewhere. A weak server is a ticking time bomb, just waiting to be set-off by cyber-criminals;
  • Employees’ matter – One of your best lines of defense in keeping your company protected against hackers is your employees. Whether you have a staff of just a few a few or several dozen, emphasize the importance of Internet security with your team. As you navigate from the paper trail to basing all your documents online, it is important that your workers understand how sensitive the information is, let alone how secure it can and should be online. From the day they are hired, employees should be reminded the importance of maintaining online privacy for customers, especially for those businesses in the medical field. Making sure patient data remains private is essential to the integrity of one’s practice. When an employee leaves your business, be sure to change their computer log-in details immediately, preventing them or anyone else from accessing company files online;
  • Role of the customer – Whether your customers are patients or just regular shoppers, there is a role for them to play too when it comes to securing online data. Individuals should always assume that someone could be watching their Internet activities, so plan accordingly. Don’t leave sensitive data online for others to see. An example of this would be going to a public facility (library, coffee shop, campus building etc.) and leaving a laptop unattended for even a minute. In that short span of time, someone will ill intentions could easily gather up a credit card number, Social Security number, bank account I.D., PIN etc. and be gone. When that happens, the individual whose information was swiped can be in for a rude financial awakening. Also try to be as sure as possible that you are working off of a secure server. If you are using a laptop computer while on the road for business or pleasure, do not just assume that the server is 100 percent safe. Due to this, it is advisable not to be entering any sensitive personal data (financial, medical etc.) until you get back home or to your office where you feel more comfortable with the server security capabilities;
  • Social media safety – Finally, more and more companies are using social media not only to learn more about what is going on in their respective industries, but also to communicate with clients. In doing so, it is critical that one’s social networking time is spent wisely. Companies (and customers for that matter) should never give out any private information over social channels. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. allow members to essentially lock-down their profiles (this way only those they choose can see what they are posting), hackers have been known to work their way into accounts. With this in mind, personal and financial information should only be transmitted through secure email channels and/or over the phone or regular mail.

In checking to see how secure your online activities are, always assume that someone is watching.

When you do that, you’re more inclined to practice online safety.

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