Protecting Your Small Online Business In The Hyper-Digital World There's a near-infinite amount of reasons that will entice anyone to start a small online business. Having low running costs, easy access to the internet and consumers, and having more...

By Aman Jain

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

HaticeEROL / Pixabay - Valuewalk

There's a near-infinite amount of reasons that will entice anyone to start a small online business. Having low running costs, easy access to the internet and consumers, and having more flexibility in your schedule are just some of the key reasons Americans are quitting their jobs, and turning to become entrepreneurs.

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While a pandemic-induced Great Reshuffle in the labor force has pushed Americans in all sorts of directions - digital entrepreneurs are seeing profitable opportunities in the market of online business.

eCommerce as some call it has become part of our culture and is now quite literally ingrained into our society. That's why more than 1.79 billion shoppers bought something via an online or eCommerce store in 2021, with roughly 36% of small businesses conducting their sales through the internet.

Yes, a small online business can be lucrative, and easy to start if you do it right.

On the other hand, business doesn't come without risk, and as some entrepreneurs will share, online businesses don't come without cyber security risks. Cybercrime has quickly advanced to become an everyday occurrence, with around 3 out of 4 businesses experiencing some form of cybersecurity threat in 2020.

These online attacks are costing entrepreneurs thousands of dollars each year, looking for ways in which they can protect their data, business assets, and ensure customers' transaction details are secure.

Where does this leave entrepreneurs, and how can they mitigate the threat of an online attack on their business and clients?

Have Proper Security Software

No handbook will teach you the best practices of online security, but having the best, if any basic security software is rule #1 to mitigating your chances of falling victim to a cyber attack.

When it comes to your small online business, you want to have the best possible security software money can buy, even if resources are a bit limited. Securing your data and private documents will save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you don't know what the costs will incur, IBM suggests that business owners, and entrepreneurs set aside around 9-14% of their overall IT budget for cybersecurity protocols.

There are now different types of security software programs, and some are specifically designed to cater to the needs of online businesses and eCommerce platforms.

Conduct Regular Backups

This should be almost second nature to many small business owners.

Whether your online store sells hundreds of different products, or perhaps you run a small blog, regular backups should always be conducted. This isn't just to ensure your data won't be completely lost in case your computer crashes, or maybe you lose your login details.

Conducting regular backups means that in case you do lose everything, you at least have a safety net to fall back on. Experts suggest you backup data in a specialized area, where intruders won't easily come across it if they do get access to your computer.

Leverage Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication has become more common on most websites that require personal information or data. For entrepreneurs, this could be the difference between having their business compromised or not.

Having multi-factor authentication adds an additional layer to security protocols. This means that instead of having one simple password or email account, users will be required to enter a One-Time-Pin (OTP) which can be sent to a designated phone number or email address.

Add a Firewall

A firewall is used to keep any outside intruder from being able to access any of the data available on your computer. When using firewall software, business owners who have online stores can add this extra layer of security to their computer and internet connection.

Think of the time you connect to open access wifi. You're opening your entire computer, and all of your personal documents to anyone who's on the same network. The firewall software acts as a block between the point of connection and your operating system.

Create Separate Accounts

When you start your new business, create separate business email accounts and profiles that aren't directly linked to any of your personal data and information.

Creating these accounts also makes it easier for you to keep track of everything, but you can now have a primary online space completely dedicated to your business. Through this you'll be able to set up strong passwords, two-way verification (multi-factor authentication), create a pseudonym email address while cutting direct contact with your personal information.

Educate Yourself

As a business owner, you're bound to receive dozens, if not hundreds of queries every day. From emails, phone calls, text messages, and private direct messages on social media - your business is open to the public.

Being educated on how cyberattacks can occur gives you a bit more edge, and will help you be prepared for if and when a cyberattack happens. Be aware of suspicious emails landing in your inbox, or questionable accounts sending your private messages on your social media accounts.

Always double check your computer and online browsing settings to make sure security features are enabled, and that now imminent cyber threats can take place on your platform.

Cybersecurity is slowly becoming an increasingly important aspect for every entrepreneur and their small online business. Not having many barriers between your business and any cyber hacker leaves you, victim, to losing personal information, your business being vulnerable and if not, completely tarnished.

Being prepared is the best action you can take, ensuring you have the best security software your budget allows for, setting up additional security measures, and educating yourself. As we should all know by now, prevention is better than cure.

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