As we usher in spring, it’s a great time for small businesses to do spring cleaning on their data and focus on cybersecurity best practices. They should ask: How clean is their data, and are they sufficiently protected against security threats? What are the resources they need to ensure constant protection as their business grows? And, more importantly, what are the right security technologies and best practices they should consider using?
Here are some key insights and considerations for small business owners looking to clean up their data and cybersecurity practices — just in time for spring.
Customer Privacy Should be Your Top Priority
Customer privacy is a concern for all employees who work on or in an eCommerce business. Data protection is about limiting access to customer information so that vulnerabilities aren’t unintentionally created, which could trigger an attack. Only a select few people at your business should have direct access.
Protocols like this prevent unsecured devices from accessing the site or backdoors being created through phishing or fake user access. Strong password-protected computers and devices containing the latest anti-spyware and anti-malware are critical. All networking equipment should be accessible to key leaders only, not general staff. And as a rule, passwords must be changed every month.
Two-factor authentication is also a good idea. This is a security system that requires two distinct forms of identification in order to access something. It can be used to strengthen the security of an online account, and works by requiring two types of information from the user: a password or personal identification number (PIN), a code sent to the user’s smartphone, or a fingerprint — before whatever is being secured can be accessed.
Create a Plan to Protect Against Attacks
After a cyberattack, 60% of small businesses close. The damage a single attack can inflict on a company and its customers is staggering. It’s short-sighted to think your website won’t be targeted when nearly half of all cyberattacks intentionally target smaller companies.
The more shocking statistic is that only 14% of these businesses could defend against hackers and protect their customer data. This is why building a cybersecurity plan is a crucial necessity for every new online store that opens. And with President Biden recently advising U.S. companies to strengthen their cybersecurity practices because of intelligence reports indicating that Russia is looking at potential attacks, it’s more important than ever for businesses to be vigilant and build a security plan.
Data Transparency is Key
If you’re an online shop owner who monitors and manages data risk, it’s important to inform your customers exactly how their data is collected, used, and secured. Customers will not want to buy from a store without the proper security in place and without assurances about correct data management. This comes in the form of a set of policy documents that should be included in the cybersecurity plan. It’s also important to provide transparency about your intentions with customer data and allow them to opt out of these plans to give them greater control. You should also always update consumers on the latest protections.
Understand New Data Laws
To protect customer information, small businesses should have a review process in place to regularly update the cybersecurity plan to comply with new laws and regulations. With the rapid-fire pace of technology, a big part of securing customer data involves compliance with current laws.
Regulations are always changing, and updates must be made so that your online business does not fall behind and become more vulnerable to threats. Customer privacy acts and new regulation revisions are important to ensure the safety and security of private data.
Spring Clean Your Cybersecurity Best Practices
Keeping a close eye on customer privacy concerns, creating an airtight cybersecurity plan, being transparent about your intentions with customer data, and always updating consumers on the latest data laws and protections will help you build and increase the trust your customers have in your small business. And that will only lead to more sales and stronger customer loyalty.
This spring, take the opportunity to follow these steps and do a refresh of your data and cybersecurity practices. It will be good for your customers, your employees, and ultimately your bottom line.