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Small businesses are becoming a trend nowadays. The people with entrepreneurial skills and minds are adopting home-based businesses because of their advantage and ease of working from home. But, these businesses have some technical threats too. It is difficult to imagine a business without using the internet. To achieve success in your small business, you need to make your own website to continue your trade online.

Most of the home-based entrepreneurs neglect the security needs of their websites as they think cyber-criminals do not attack small businesses – the widespread belief is that they target big organizations. But this mindset is totally wrong. Small businesses are attacked by hackers more than the big businesses as they are easy prey. Cyber-attacks are used to steal information shared between the user and the web server and then that data is used for different malicious processes like stealing money, identity thefts, etc.

As most of the small businesses do not have any security system installed on their websites, it is not as challenging for the cyber-criminals to attack that site. These are some of the major reasons for home-based businesses to not adopt a suitable security strategy:

  1. Lack of expertise

  2. Less time and budget

  3. No or less knowledge of cyber-threats

  4. No employee training

So, the question is, how can you avoid your small businesses from being a victim of these cyber-criminals?

Here are the seven important tips to help you protect your home-based business:

  1. Install a Firewall

Using a firewall on your system will keep it safe from the phishers and attackers. These firewalls check the traffic coming from different sources and block suspicious content to protect your systems and network. Many organizations recommend the use of firewalls for home-based entrepreneurs to save precious data from the reach of invaders. There are two types of firewalls - a desktop firewall that is used as a software anti-phishing solution and a network firewall that is used as a hardware anti-phishing solution. Users are encouraged to use both firewalls rather than depending on only one.

  1. Backup Regularly

No matter how many safety precautions you have implemented, there is a risk of security breach at every step of operation. You can add a backup process to stay safe in case you are faced with uncertain conditions. You should keep the backup of all your data like word data, documents, excel sheets, all employee records, human resources data, customer information, financial accounts, payments, etc. Not only this, but you must also have a backup for all your data stored on the cloud as well. Make sure all the information about your business is stored at a different place too so that you do not end up in a situation where it becomes impossible to salvage the data due to mishaps like of flood, earthquake, or fire.

  1. Install Anti-Virus Software

Phishing scams are increasing rapidly. Most of these tricks are carried out through phishing emails. You do not know which email is a trap from the attackers and after clicking on the link in the email, you become a victim of phishing scams. Computer virus, trojans, malware, etc. can damage your data files. In some cases, the malware may even steal your personal information and send it to the cybercriminals who perpetuated the attack. So, an anti-virus software should be installed on all the computers of your employees to keep your business secured from these attacks. Anti-virus software detects everything coming to your computer carefully. Whenever you download something from the internet, anti-virus software checks it and blocks it if look to be malicious.

  1. Multi-factor Identification

Invaders are always in search of finding security vulnerabilities of a site. You may have implemented one of the best security protocols and rules to protect your data but you can still become a victim of cyber-criminals. So, to avoid anything bad from occurring you should adopt a multi-factor identification method to add a security layer to your business. For instance, you can use the cell phones or emails of your employees for their authentication, in addition to requiring them to enter their password. This way, the hackers cannot infiltrate even if the primary passcode is compromised. Some websites also ask to save different questions, whose responses are known solely to the user logging in.

  1. Encrypted Messaging

Almost all the home-based entrepreneurs remain in touch with their employees and freelancers through messaging. It is important to stay alert while communicating with one another over the internet. You should inly make use the messaging apps in which the communications are encrypted end-to-end like WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. This will keep your data safe and secure from the reach of scammers.

Also, it is recommended to avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, as they have a higher risk of being attacked by hackers easily.

  1. Install an SSL Certificate

Cyber-crimes are increasing rapidly with each passing day. If you are running a small business website, you should pay attention to these security threats. Some of the home-based entrepreneurs do not care for their website security and do not implement security techniques on their websites. These types of sites become an easy target for the invaders. They can easily steal the sensitive information of the users and the resources of websites.

To keep your business secure from cyber-attacks, you should Install an SSL certificate on your website. An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layers Security) is an effective and easy to use security technology that protects your website and the customers from being a victim of data theft. The SSL certificates encrypt the data between the two communicating parties. In addition to this, the SSL certificates build the trust relationship between you (your website) and your customers. A website having an SSL certificate has a padlock sign on the left of the browser.

When the users visit your website and they see a padlock sign, they feel comfortable while sharing their sensitive information (usernames, passwords, banking details) on your website. It means more sales and revenues. On the other hand, if you do not use an SSL certificate on your website, your site may fall prey to these cyber-attacks. Also, almost all of the famous browsers show a “non-secure connection” alert on the websites having no SSL certificate. This will affect your website badly.

  1. Keep Changing Passwords

To keep your website safe and secure, you must keep updating your passwords periodically. It may seem to be a burdensome task, but it can be a very effective strategy to prevent heavy losses due to unauthorized access. Most of the security vulnerabilities occur due to stolen or weak passwords. So, changing your passwords occasionally (after 2-3 months) protects you from being a victim of cyber-criminals. Also, you should use uppercase, lowercase letters, numerals, and symbols to make a strong password.

Conclusion

Small businesses are achieving success as they are a source of opportunity for the entrepreneurs and provide more jobs too. But there is a need to secure these businesses from cyber-criminals. Cyber-threats are not slowing down, they are rather increasing at an alarming rate and getting more sophisticated in their attacks. The invaders are coming up with new techniques and tricks to take advantage of security vulnerabilities of a site. So, to keep your site secure from these threats, you must adopt the above-mentioned security tips to take your business to the level of success.

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