According to a recent report by CNBC, only 14% of businesses have adequate safeguards against potential cyberattacks. The finding is alarming considering that businesses of all sizes lose close to $200,000 annually due to cyber-related attacks. Ensuring that you have in place water-tight cybersecurity protocols for your online business is a security measure you cannot overlook.
In the last year alone, more than half of all small businesses suffered a cyber-related breach. This article reviews some of the cyber security protocols your online business needs, to survive the porous e-commerce landscape.
Cyber Security Protocol in a Nutshell
Cyber security protocols relate to plans, actions, and measures organizations put in place to ensure safeguards against varying security breaches. Cyber-related breaches are the most common security vulnerabilities for online businesses. Consequently, cyber security protocols for online businesses are measures, plans and actions that aim to keep your online business safe from cyber instigated data breaches.
The following are some of the most effective cyber security protocols your e-commerce venture needs.
The majority of cyber-attackers targeting online businesses consider password vulnerability as the easiest loophole to manipulate. If you run an e-commerce venture, stolen, sub-par or lost passwords can cost you unimaginable losses if compromised. The good news is, encryption is among the top cyber security protocols that can ensure a layer of security for your business.
Encrypting sensitive data minimizes the extent of damage a business can suffer in case of potential breaches. Your most urgent step when running an online business should be to encrypt all your passwords. Online businesses that have data encryption protocols in place make it hard for intruders to undertake data breaches.
Organizations that lack encryption protocols expose their systems to multiple vulnerabilities and resultant losses. If you are keen on improving your online business's cyber security standards, encryption should be a priority measure.
- Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a security protocol that offers an additional layer of protection. The term describes any authorization system that uses two or more of the following factors: something you know (like a password), something you have (like your phone), and something you are (like your fingerprint). Most businesses have been implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for their Internet-facing services, such as email, web servers, and network equipment. This protects against cybercriminals gaining access to your network through these systems by using a stolen password. If you haven't decided on MFA solutions yet, at least consider using it with a VPN which is typically found at the edge of a company's network where it meets the Internet. Therefore, if you are using a Cisco VPN, try enabling Cisco MFA to make access to your corporate resources more secure.
Most online businesses overlook the importance of instituting firewalls as part of their primary security parameters. However, as simple as they may appear, firewalls are among the most important cyber security protocols your business should have. A firewall refers to a network security apparatus, which permits or blocks incoming or outgoing traffic guided by specific admittance protocols.
Firewalls ensure protection against any intrusion from unauthorized or suspicious sources. With a secure firewall security protocol, you won't have to worry about malicious software access.
Emails stand out as the modern locomotive of digital marketing. Even then, emails could easily be the point of vulnerability for malicious intrusion. Firewalls help keep your e-commerce infrastructure in check by blocking any potential compromises through emails, data and other threats.
- Safe Reporting
Sometimes, cyber-related threats escalate faster than your inbuild control mechanisms can handle. When this happens, you need a cyber security protocol that can ensure speedy reporting and recovery. Your first challenge as you enhance your business's fundamental cyber safety protocols should be to encourage a culture of safe reporting.
Such a policy ensures that all your employees feel comfortable reporting any vulnerabilities they encounter. Whistleblowing can be a critical safety protocol in the process of safeguarding your organization. Even then, this is only possible if there're measures to ensure the safety and anonymity of employees who break the silence on cyber threats.
Most online businesses suffer cyber-related attacks due to internal sabotage. However, safe reporting can help control or minimizes the extent of damages in case of an unforeseen breach.
- Education and Awareness
Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest gas distributors in the United States, endured a six-day shutdown of all operations in May 2021 following a ransomware attack. Such extended disruptions in operations are avoidable if only organizations can invest more in education and awareness. Recent research has placed human error right at the center of emerging cyber-related risks.
Education and awareness are among the surest cybersecurity protocols for any business. Once you invest in intensive training among your employees, you will achieve a water-tight safety protocol from within. Companies that invest in cybersecurity protocol training often enjoy the benefits of reduced risks and minimized costs related to cyber losses.
- Rapid Incident Response
Regardless of how well you build your cybersecurity structures, risks are always evolving. Cyber attackers will still find new ways of breaching your system. The best way to retain control even when breaches occur would be to have a rapid response protocol in place.
Once you plan an incident response mechanism for your organization, then everyone understands what to do in case of a breach. Most organizations lose millions of dollars each year because they spend precious time deliberating on an action plan after an attack rather than responding immediately. A rapid incidence response protocol helps ensure speedy and conclusive interventions.
It's Time to Implement Cybersecurity Protocols for Your Online Business
At least 60% of all businesses now have a virtual shop. Cyberattacks should be your greatest concern if you run an online business. However, your online venture will be much safer if you can instill any or all of these five cyber security protocols as part of your operational culture.