Getting Serious About Security Measures For Your Online Business

Let’s face it, it’s a big bad world out there and when it comes to protecting your digital assets, I think it’s high time we all wised up. As more of us flock to becoming location independent and working from just our laptops and smart phones, that means more people are going to take advantage of our online actions.

When it comes to building your online business you need to protect yourself. I’m not talking about installing Askimet to stop spam comments on your blog, protecting your private parts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, or how to avoid having your blog being taken prisoner. I’m talking about getting serious about protecting your digital and offline empire.

If you have an online business or you are transmitting any kind of information across the Internet, then you need to have a number of different security measures in place to protect your online space including your digital infrastructure, information and even your team members from malicious attacks.

Protecting your online business

If you have combined this with a brick and mortar business too then part of these measures should involve physical security of buildings and computers with monitoring systems like those provided by Vivint. The last thing you want is to come into your office or co-working space and find your laptop, smartphone, printer and the likes stolen or hacked into.The next step after physically securing computer hardware should be to protect the critical online systems and information from theft or destruction or hacking attacks.  There are a number of ways to do this so listen up – this is serious stuff.

Minimize Network Exposure 

One issue you may face with your business is balancing the availability of information and services with the risks associated with exposing networks online. If you have a virtual team and are providing access points that give them or other outside computers a way to interface with your network services, then this should be done in a very careful way and only when it is absolutely necessary.

If your business model or client work means that you have to rely on remote access to sensitive information, then you should establish servers that have tracking and monitoring software so that transactions can be audited and so that any immediate suspicious behavior can be terminated. Here are 10 free server and network monitoring tools that kick ass.

Use Advanced Encryption And Authentication 

Does this sound complex to you already? Well it shouldn’t. Using technologies like secure sockets layers (SSL) along with public keys for authentication is a good way to secure a system from unsophisticated attacks. You will have seen this if you’re accessing wifi at a cafe or coworking space – there’s usually an encryption key or password protected network.

You need to do the same if you have broadband and wifi access in your office or home so that others can’t tap into it and potentially hack into the sensitive information you’re transmitting online. Make sure you strengthen any weak points by implementing more advanced encryption schemes and authentication measures when you’re setting up your modem. The same goes for sending documents or sharing software. Whenever possible include requiring signed certificates.

One area that needs to be tightened up on is the explosive use of mobile devices to access network data since these signals can be intercepted by a man-in-the-middle style of attack. Using technology like a virtual private network (VPN) can help to keep data secured by using multiple forms of encryption. It really depends on how you far you want to take it and how important your digital assets and information are.

Implement Layered Security Measures 

There is no single security measure that will provide protection against data theft, viruses and malicious external hackers. Security for online systems needs to be implemented as a series of layers that complement each other, and at the same time defending you against different issues. This means if you’re building a business bigger than the both of us you should consider having a strong firewall, anti-virus software, network monitoring processes and clear information technology (IT) policies. Start with this article from the Wall Street Journal on how to keep your online business information secure

These online security measures should be part of a complete plan that involves training your virtual or on locaiton employees, skilled network administrators, policies that include your whole team and investing in dedicated hardware. Information should be backed up on a daily basis and network logs should be as complete as possible. You may even want to go as far as having  an active incident response plan in place to ensure that any attacks can be stopped immediately.

  • http://www.Designs-by-Debi.com Debi Auger

    Natalie this is a fantastic post with so much important information! Now that I’m branching further out with my businesses, I’m moving beyond just securing my network. I’m getting into the more advanced tactics and systems you mentioned and growing into remote access safety measures so this is very timely for me and will really come in handy. Thank you so much for another priceless post (and saving me research time)!! You rock!!

  • http://www.platinumlynx.net Chas

    I know you are not addressing lighter subjects, such as spam, but, when I changed the e-mail address on my site from gmail to admin, I started receiving a lot of spam~ suggestions for contact forms?
    Also, even though most everyone has anti-virus software on their computer by now, here is a free site that you can use to scan web sites you are unsure of, that will let you know if it is infected with malware, viruses, etc. and what the issue with the site is.~
    sitecheck.sucuri.net/scanner

  • http://suitcaseentrepreneur.com Natalie

    Thanks Chas. This was just a heavier topic than normal. normally I’d address lighter topics for sure and SPAM is actually no light topic. Askimet is great for blocking and catching spam comments.

    I get very little spam through my contact form though and use Gmail which catches most of it.

    Thanks for the link to the anti-virus software – very useful!

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