5 tips for protecting your small business online

Owning a small business means wearing many hats. But online security doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive or difficult.

As technology becomes more advanced, cyber hackers become more intelligent. While this can make taking your small business online seem risky, it’s hard to ignore the obvious benefits.

Recent research by GoDaddy and Redshift found that around half of all small businesses surveyed experienced a boost in consumer interest and sales once they established a website. But it’s important to secure your online assets to ensure you’re not at risk of cyber attack.

Being short of time, capital or knowledge are the most common gripes when it comes to DIY online security, but they are not excuses. Online security doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive or difficult. So here are five tips you can use to protect your business online:

1. Expand your web security

Proper security is crucial and by investing in a security suite, you know that your business will be protected from viruses and spam because you’re working with experts. Configuring your website against viruses and spam is also surprisingly simple, as most web browsers have user-friendly settings that can help protect your computer. Consider the options and explore the security settings that best suit your business needs.

2. Enable SSL certificate protection

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is an encrypted link between a website server and a browser that can help ensure all data that passes between the two remains private. SSL certificates help to keep your customers’ data safe. Websites that have SSL enabled often attract serious shoppers, who don’t want to worry about whether their bank information is being kept confidential. This is especially important for e-commerce businesses.

3. Update software regularly

Don’t delay updating your computer’s software – as easy as it is to click ‘remind me later’, it’s not worth the risk of having to rid a virus from your system! It’s also important to regularly test your website, including a all links, to make sure hackers have not introduced malware into advertisements, graphics, or any other content. E-commerce sites are required by credit card companies to test their sites to meet security standards, but this alone is not enough.

4. Only collect customer information you really need

As the threat of hacking grows, so does the need to be more stringent with the customer data you collect. Only ask your customers for information that you need to process their requests made on your website. This is especially the case for small businesses with e-commerce sites. Remember – cyber thieves cannot steal information you don’t have.

5. Opt for managed rather than shared hosting

You need a reputable web host that continually monitors its software to help ensure your website remains secure. WordPress sites are usually hosted through either ‘shared hosting’ or ‘managed hosting’. For small businesses, the latter is often a better option. One of the main reasons is because expert technicians look after your website for you – helping you to ensure your servers are guarded, backups are scheduled, and security updates are performed.

It’s important to remember that online security is just as important as for small businesses as it is for large ones. Check and update regularly so you (and your customers) can have peace of mind, knowing your data is protected.

Tara Commerford is the Australian and New Zealand country manager for web hosting service GoDaddy.

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