The on-going pandemic has made many lives more difficult, and more people turned to the online world for business and entertainment. This also meant more opportunities for ill-intended actors looking to trick people and commit fraudulent activities.
According to Sontiq’s 2021 Mid-Year Cybercrime Report, small businesses were the most at risk during the first half of 2021. Also, the most common methods of attack were email phishing and ransomware. Lastly, when it comes to identity crime, the leading type of fraud is focused on credit cards and the main targets are seniors.
Still, the news is not all bad. The same report shows both individuals and businesses are more interested in buying identity theft protection plans and fraud detection systems. However, the best way to stay protected is to be knowledgeable about the main threats that lurk in the shadows. When you’re informed, you know what type of protection best suits your business.
We had a chat with a few security experts and learned the top 5 most useful prevention methods for online businesses that want to keep their data and their customers safe from any prying eyes.
#1: Fraud Protection Services
Both individuals and businesses can benefit from this type of service. In short, when you have such a service in your toolkit, you can monitor what happens with your finances and your sensitive information (like credit card credentials, SSN, and more).
For instance, this service for avoiding frauds from IdentityGuard is designed to monitor an individual’s credit and SSN, while also helping them know which personal data are easily available via social media platforms. While it may not solve all the problems one can encounter online, it adds a layer of protection to the system.
This is exactly what a business needs to do as well! A layered protection system is designed to stop threats or minimize their effects. It’s also a method to discourage any future attacks since cybercriminals know your business is protected.
#2: Regular Security Audits
This applies to any organization, regardless of size and number of employees.
A security audit will let you know about:
- the devices that need updates (it’s crucial to use up to date software)
- the users most at risk when it comes to phishing (they’ll need more training)
- vulnerable points in your security systems
- any points of entry using employees who work remotely
#3: A Strong Checkout System
As an online business, you are most likely to accept online payments. In this case, it’s crucial to implement a strong checkout system, protected by several layers of encryption and designed to fend off anyone trying to force their way in.
Otherwise, if the system is not breach-proof, you risk exposing your customers’ sensitive financial information to cybercriminals. If this happens, you won’t just lose customers; your reputation as an online retailer will also plummet and this is difficult to come back from.
#4: Use Modern Tools
Small businesses are usually the last to have a fancy security system for their online business. Of course, it’s easy to understand why. When the budget is already stretched to meet the requirements of daily activity, the owners will hardly think about upgrading their security systems.
Yet, this is where they’re mistaken. Modern tools use Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to understand the business’s flow and identify any suspicious activities before any damage happens. Even more, they can provide guidance and data for customizations that are specific to your business and improve the rate of your fraud prevention system.
#5: Employee Training
Online business security doesn’t happen in a silo. Given that each employee can be an entry point for cybercriminals, everyone must be knowledgeable about the risk and the methods used to trick them.
Talk to your people and offer them the opportunity to participate in training sessions held by specialists in cybersecurity. Additionally, have a strict policy regarding passwords, the use of email accounts outside company-owned devices, and connecting remotely using personal devices.
Each individual leaves an online footprint that can be exploited by cybercriminals. Therefore, before anything else, companies must train their employees on how to behave online and how to separate their personal profiles from their professional ones.
Additionally, it’s crucial to use a layered security approach and implement modern tools in your defense strategy.