The Security Checklist for Online Businesses

Cybersecurity is not just a technology problem. The system is only as strong as its weakest link. To have an effective cybersecurity system, you need a comprehensive security policy for all employees that covers both online and offline behaviour, as well as leaders to instill a security-conscious culture.

One of the most recent scams is the “VP imposter scam,” which is a smaller version of CEO fraud. An employee receives an email from a VP. VP is in a customer meeting offsite, but he needs gift cards purchased immediately. The employee was told to immediately go buy the gift cards and send the VP the photos of the backs of gift cards before the meeting ends. Sounds urgent, so the employee complies. Unfortunately, the VP was an imposter, using a spoofed address from a “look-alike” domain. Once the card back photos were sent, their values are drained, and the imposter cuts contact. The victim employee eventually realized he was scammed when VP didn’t reimburse, triggering an IT investigation.

Technology will not solve this issue, because this is not something a spam or other email filter will catch. This is a targeted phishing message. But a security policy can stop this, and your company needs both to function properly.

What Makes a Good Security Policy?

There are several things that make a good security policy:

  • Make everyone understand the stakes – anyone can be compromised, from CEO on down to the lowliest grunt, including the vendors. A reported hack was actually phishing messages that compromised partner’s own backend.
  • Define the chain of command clearly – a VP should not be able to order a random employee around, but only his/her direct staff. Attempt to bypass such must be verified.
  • Define clear areas of control for each department – this can range from “regular users should not be able to install new programs, only IT” to “only CFO can edit transactions.”
  • Define risk in each job, and how to manage that risk – different jobs have different risk levels, and that determines how much training and how much technology is needed to manage that risk.
  • Plan for worst-case before it happens – If you are penetrated by a scammer, how do you proceed? This had to be planned properly ahead of time.

For any organization or individual, it is extremely important to keep your data secure from all kinds of different threats, ranging from hackers stealing your passwords to various different forms of viruses that are used to steal copies of your financial information or forcibly display a wide variety of different popups or advertisements or to open specific programs or web pages independently of any form of user input.

One of the most obvious threats that are most neglected is that some people use the most basic and rudimentary forms of security software that only do the most basic things. The more concerning part of this is the fact that many people do not even bother to update their security software to modern standards and just let the software do its job in the background. However, the problem with them doing this lies in the fact that they are neglecting to update their security software in favour of just using the default version without updates which can lead them to be unable to defend against more modern threats as their security software becomes more and more outdated. Let cyber security managed for you by professionals.

In addition to the use of outdated security software, some people have been known to use a form of data transmission that did an extremely poor job of correctly encrypting their data which left the data in question open to be discovered and stolen by almost any hacker who could gain access to that data stream.

This access control, or authorization, limits certain visitors access to certain areas of the website through security checks. Sometimes, however, access control can be broken, granting access to users who do not have clearance to areas of your website containing sensitive information. If this has ever happened with your website, you know the stress and headache it can cause and have wondered how you can better protect yourself. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.

Why Does Broken Access Control Happen?

The first thing we will want to look at when it comes to resolving broken access control is to determine what causes it in the first place. The first place where developers may fail is in an underestimation in what it takes to implement access control that is reliable. To brake access control, all that a hacker needs to do is simply figure out the access control scheme in order to find a way around it. This is often done by a simple request for access to areas of the website that are not permitted. The hacker will then find a flaw in the access control scheme in order to break it. Once they are in, the attacker is able to do a lot of damage such as deleting content or even taking control of your website. As you can see, the effects of broken access control can be detrimental, and it cannot be over-stressing the importance of knowing the best way to resolve broken access control.

How Can I be Sure I am Protected?

So how can you be sure you are protected? First and foremost, you will want to evaluate the access control requirements for your application and make sure that it is well documented in your policy. This policy should contain details such as who has access and what they should be able to see on your website. You will then want to perform numerous tests from multiple accounts to be sure it cannot be bypassed.


Finally, it is always wise to keep an eye out for social engineering techniques being used to threaten your security. These threats are a little less obvious than most, but they are another thing to keep an eye on. These methods are far less technical and more personal as it mostly involves manipulating people into sharing their personal data rather than hacking your systems.

Don’t Fall Into These Traps With Your Online Business!

There’s no denying that the world we live in today is almost entirely dominated by the internet. Whether you’re shopping, socialising, gaming, watching TV, or doing just about anything else, the internet is almost certainly going to be involved. Because of that, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the business world has had to change and evolve. Online businesses are springing up every single day, and more and more people are able to create startups from virtually nothing thanks to the internet. And yet, despite this, there are a lot of businesses that end up falling at the very first hurdle because they end up falling into some incredibly common traps that come with running an online business. To help you avoid that fate, here are some of the most common pitfalls for new online startups.


Terrible web design

There’s an assumption that far too many people seem to have that as long as you have a website, you don’t really have to think about it that much. This is one of the most common reasons that online startups end up falling apart. If your web design is lacking, then customers aren’t going to be interested in your business. If it looks amateurish, then they’re going to assume that the rest of your business is the same and look elsewhere. That might sound shallow, but it’s a fundamental part of how many customers engage with businesses.

A misunderstanding of social media

Speaking of customer engagement, if you’re not using social media properly, then you’re missing out on an incredibly important aspect of your marketing. Far too many businesses end up using their social media pages for little more than copied and pasted advertising. If you do that, customers simply aren’t going to care and will unfollow your pages in an instant. You need to use social media to engage with customers on a personal level. This means creating entertaining and interesting content that they will want to share and enjoy.

Poor SEO

The other fundamental part of online marketing that is ignored all too often is that of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. One of the big changes in the internet age is that customers can now come to you rather than you advertising to them. But to do this, you need to make yourself visible to those customers. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO is the way in which you ensure that your business is the first result when a customer searches for specific keywords on search engines like Google. If your SEO isn’t up to scratch, your business is going to end up getting buried.

One of the most important things to remember is that these things don’t just impact businesses that are exclusively online. Every business needs an online presence, and if you don’t consider these things, then you’re just going to end up wasting it. Even if your business has always been based in brick and mortar, you need the internet to succeed in the modern era, just make sure that you’re using it properly.

Get More Out of Your Online Business Today

If it feels like your online business is starting to get stuck in a bit of a rut, it’s important to take action to change that. You can’t expect your business to remain on an upward trajectory forever; there are always going to be bumps in the road. It’s how you respond to and handle these bumps that matter. Be proactive and take steps to drive your online business forward and get more out of it today. Here’s how.

Put More In

To get more out of your online business, you first need to put more into it. By putting more into the business, you’ll find that you eventually start to reap the rewards. But more of what? It can be more financial investment, it could be more time or it could be other resources. But don’t let your online business remain static for too long because that never ends well. 

Learn the Value of Analytics

Analytics can’t be ignored any longer. If your online business is not currently making use of analytics tools, that has to change sooner rather than later. There is no getting round the importance of this. So, if you want your company to succeed, start using the right analytics tools. You can approach embedded BI and analytics from many angles. Get informed and work with people who know what they’re doing.


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Consider the Way Your Customers Use Your Site

 Your website should always put the needs and wants of the visitor first. These days, people don’t just sit at their desktop when they want to buy something online or browse your website. Instead, they use smartphone screens and tablets. You need to be aware of these trends and allow potential customers to use and interact with your website in the way they want to.

Improve Scalability

Scalability is one word that you should become more familiar with if you want to push your business in the right kind of direction. This often applies to the logistical side of your business’s operations. You can’t expect your company to keep growing if you don’t know how to scale things up and keep producing strong outcomes. Learn more about this and clean up the logistics that your business relies on each day.


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Cut Out the Middlemen

Middlemen often serve no real purpose. If you have a lot of people acting as intermediaries for your business, you will find that cutting them out and getting to the point saves you a lot of time and energy. There is no need to persist with people that are offering you nothing in the way of value and contributing very little to the success of your online business. Many people feel they’re necessary, but that doesn’t mean they are in practice.

There are so many ways to get more out of your business and help it to grow. These 5 ideas offer you a good starting block. From there, you can develop your own methods to get more out of the online business going forward.

Powerful Ways To Push Your Online Company Forward

Online businesses have become a huge part of today’s market, and running one successfully requires you to stand out from the ever-growing competition. With many businesses selling a similar product or service as you, you have to find what separates you from them and use it to attract customers. There are several ways to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and expand your business, but it completely depends on the type of product or service that you’re selling. This guide was made to help you turn things around if your business is stagnating, or even if you’re just starting a new one.

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Get to Know Your Competition

Every successful business owner will be able to tell you their main competitors from the top of their head. To be able to know where you’re heading, you need to know what you’re up against. The reason for this is because you want to stand out. If your competitors are using certain keywords or slogans, you want to stay as far away as possible from those because it’s going to be bad for you and them both. Since building a brand requires you to stay unique, it’s always good to know what your competition is doing and do it better.

Invest in Your Customer Service

Getting an audience is a tough task when you’re just starting an online business. But that’s not where it ends, because now you have to retain the audience, and the best way to do that is to have a great customer support. Treat your customers better than your competitors and they’ll most probably remain loyal to your product or service. People often underestimate the power of reputation, and word of mouth advertising is actually a great way to build it. An honest recommendation from a satisfied customer will guarantee you new customers, especially in the age of social media.

Build More Traffic

You can have a great product, excellent website, and wonderful customer service, but if you don’t have enough traffic you won’t be earning money. Building traffic is a process that requires focus, strategy, and persistence since you’ll potentially need a lot of trial and error to get it right. If you do manage to build lots of traffic, it will become considerably easier to generate income. If for some reason you can’t commit to this task entirely, there are companies out there like Agseosydney which will guarantee increased traffic on your website. They’ll optimize your SEO and help you manage your online reputation, thus directly increasing your income.

Follow the Latest Trends

There’s a new meme circling the internet that has millions of people jumping out of their chairs? Then you absolutely must know about it. If you’re to be successful in advertising your product, especially when it comes to social media, it’s imperative to keep track of current trends and potentially use them to your advantage. Being uninformed is no longer acceptable, especially when it comes to online businesses. Talk to your employees and encourage them to share their insight when it comes to current online trends.

Specialize Your Products

Ask yourself, what kind of problem will your customers solve if they pick you over your competitors? Let’s imagine that you’re selling cleaning products. If you advertise your company just as a cleaning products seller, how does that put you in an advantageous position compared to your competition? However, if you’re selling eco-friendly cleaning products that don’t negatively affect our environment, you’re good to go. Why is that? Because you just solved a problem for someone who lives by the green living philosophy and needs to clean their house. And by doing it, you effectively made yourself stand out from the crowd. So think about the ways on how to customize your products, and you’ll be doing yourself a favor too.


It takes time and focus to launch and grow a successful online business. This guide was made for you to help you make your business stand out from the crowd and show your unique qualities to your customers. Sometimes, an idea will fail and you’ll need to recognize that moment and learn from the experience, so that next time you may succeed. Just remember that if you have a strategy in place for both your products and your customers, you’ll already be a few steps ahead of your competition.

Why Good Online Business Is About Always Being Easy

There are always two forces playing on a potential customer when you’ve got their attention. One of those forces is the want or need that brought them to you in the first place. The force that that desire is playing up against is judgment. It’s the sober moment they decide that it isn’t worth going through with the purchase. Every business is at risk of it. Every business can use the same weapon to fight against it. We are talking, of course, about being easy.


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Getting seen

It’s not going to be very easy for anyone to become a customer if they have no idea you exist. Visibility is a part of the business you should always be doing work to maintain. Search engine optimization is the battleground a lot of sites use to compete for that visibility. But it’s not just about using the right tricks and tips to work with a system. You need to stay current and stay valuable. Deliver great content across multiple channels. That way, you’re building your online profile and making it much easier for yourself to get seen by more people. At the same time, you’re building your brand as an expert in your field.

A site that makes sense

When they get onto your site, that’s where the battle really starts. We know that a business wants to make an impact and one of the best ways to do that is by having a site that’s just oozing brand. But being attractive isn’t enough. Your site needs to be intuitive. You should be following the trends of site design that many customers already have in their mind. The sitemap needs to be simple and sensible. Don’t create pages where you could just create subheadings. Know where on the page is most likely to get seen and make that your position to place the best content. If you’re an ecommerce system, breadcrumb navigation is important for keeping them in the process.


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The power of temptation

That element of thinking about where the customer will look on the page can be a very valuable tool. In particular, it helps you identify where you can turn a visitor into a customer on just about any page. Regardless of what the purpose of a certain page is, it should always be tempting the visitor. Calls-to-action in the right places is just one of the steps of getting into conversion rate optimization. It’s also about looking at the data behind your site. Find where they’re most likely go and make that the placement of your best attempts to sell them on your products and services. You need to look at why people are bouncing off your site in the first place and patch those holes up.

Considering accessibility

If you’re thinking about a narrow band of customers and how they use your site, you might be thinking about it wrong. One of the most common points brought up about accessibility is how it affects mobile business. Yes, more people are browsing and buying on their phones nowadays. Yes, your site should be designed responsively to fit with that need. But if you go even further with that accessibility, you can become the business that really cares about its customers. We’re talking about making your website accessible to people with disabilities. Providing alternate versions of the site doesn’t have to be a lot of work. But it can win you a lot of love from audiences that other businesses might not be working for.


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Specialize the experience

Some businesses could use an extra boost just to make their services that easier to access. Nowadays, you might be able to get a lot more done with the right app instead of a website. Web app development allows for a much more dynamic function than most sites. For example, you could really specialize an ecommerce business and make it a lot smoother. You could offer an app that helps people book your services in advance or find out how much a quote for a certain option would be. If an app can make your business a lot easier to use than a website, then it’s worth considering.

An eager ear

A lot of what ‘being easy’ is about comes down to laying the path for the customer. Making sure that they don’t need your assistance. But if you’re going to have that assistance on offer, it’s best to make it as immediate and as convenient as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is by having an active social media presence. That way, it’s easy to get alerts at any time in the day as to when a customer needs help. You might also build a chat function directly into your app or your site. That way, if the customer experiences a problem in the middle of their experience, you’re right there to help them straighten it out. Much better than them having to wait long periods of time for an answer. By the time the answer comes, they may have already lost interest.


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Friendly reminders

We’ve already mentioned how great content can be a way to lure more customers towards your products and services. But it’s even better if you make it that they don’t have to come hunting for that content. Keep customers keen by delivering them news that they want to hear. Start a newsletter that’s going to keep them up to date on all the news and informative content you’re creating. Then slip in deals and personalized suggestions that add even more value to the newsletter. With the right use of landing pages, you can use a good newsletter to direct them wherever you want.

Being easy is about eliminating as many steps as possible from someone turning from a regular person to a customer. Make yourself easier to find and easier to buy from. Make yourself easier to support by showing that support in return. Most importantly, make yourself easier to love to showing real care for the customer experience.


Best Shopping Cart Plugins for Your Business

Building an online business involves more than just setting up a website.

It is essential that you have the necessary features to provide the most pleasant and safest online shopping experience for your customers. This means that you need to get a good ecommerce solution that suits your business needs.

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Here is a look at some of the best shopping cart plugins that are available in the market:


Shopify is a reliable and secure shopping cart plugin that comes with a wide range of useful features, and it integrates more than 50 payment gateways to enable you to accept payments with credit cards and PayPal.

It uses your local currency and sets tax rates based on the locations of your business and customers. Additionally, it provides a fast and easy way for your customers to calculate shipping rates, and it facilitates connection with fulfillment services such as Shipwire and Amazon Services, making it possible for you to fill and deliver orders from the warehouse with just one click.

Other notable features of this shopping cart plugin include mobile-optimized shopping cart, CMS and blogging platform, social sharing, abandoned shopping cart recovery and free SSL certificate.

Shopify is certified Level 1 PCI compliant, and it is available in a 14-day free trial version.


GetShopped is one of the first shopping cart plugins developed for WordPress, and it has become increasingly functional and reliable over the years.

This popular shopping cart plugin can work with any WordPress theme that is standards-compliant, and it is very easy to install. It is 100-percent customizable, giving you absolute control over the appearance of your online store. It also offers a streamlined checkout, which can help increase your sales by minimizing the number of pages between products and checkout.

Additionally, it has flexible shipping rate calculators, and it integrates with a wide range of shipping service providers for real-time rates.

GetShopped allows your customers to make payments through many trusted payment processors, including PayPal, Google Checkout, Payment Express and others.


Cart66 is a solidly-built WordPress shopping cart plugin that is specially designed with the best interests of ecommerce business owners in mind.

It offers outstanding integration with WordPress API, and it can be used for selling all kinds of products, ranging from physical products to memberships. It is one of the safest WordPress ecommerce solutions, providing a high level of security for your products, customer data and other information.

Cart66 also makes your online store PCI compliant, which means that you do not have to get your own SSL certificate.


1ShoppingCart is an all-in-one ecommerce solution that provides a simple way for you to build your online store.

It is easy to set up and maintain, and it comes with a 100-percent customizable storefront design. It offers an extensive range of useful features and tools to help you manage and grow your store, including built-in email marketing, auto-responders, mobile compatibility, social sharing and others.

Nowadays, businesses are investing more time, effort and money to create a better shopping experience for their customers.

Installing a good shopping cart plugin is one of the things that you can do to stay abreast of your competitors.


About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.