As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the globe, small businesses face new challenges. Small businesses face many challenges, including the need to lay off employees and seek emergency loans. Cybersecurity has been a top priority for online businesses. According to May 2020, 82% of U.S. small business owners were concerned about the impact of the pandemic, while only 29% of those working in the service and retail sectors reported feeling very concerned.
While brick-and-mortar businesses suffered slowing or even a halt, states were closed. However, online business has seen a dramatic increase in the last few months. The Adobe Digital Economic Index shows that eCommerce sales had increased by $52 billion since March when the pandemic affected consumer spending.
Businesses have a new pressing concern: Cybersecurity.
A robust cybersecurity network is vital
Cybersecurity has been a top priority for online businesses, but it is elevated to the top of the priority lists. Companies must demonstrate that they care about the safety of their customers in an ever-changing marketplace.
Cybercrime is a problem that has plagued the world for many years. It causes as much as $600 Billion in economic damage each year. It has been described as “the greatest transfer economic wealth in history” and, even before the pandemic began, cybercrime was America’s fastest-growing crime.
Cybercrime has risen by the hundreds since the outbreak of the pandemic. According to the U.N., cybercrime has increased 600% since the crisis started. They have also reported that there is an average of a cyberattack every 39 seconds. In addition, Google identified more than 350,000 phishing websites between January 2020 and March 2020. It is an increase of more than 150,000 compared to 522,000 in March 2019.
Cybercrime affects both consumers and businesses in many ways. Customers need to feel confident that companies dealing with them are fully aware of the problem and have robust procedures to minimize its likelihood and deal with it if it does happen.
Businesses working online must take Cybersecurity seriously and be transparent about their efforts to address it.
7 ways to increase your Cybersecurity
Cybercrime can be addressed by businesses in many ways, especially payment security. To identify vulnerabilities in your systems and create a list of cybercrime possibilities, you should first analyze them. These tips will help you keep your ship in good shape.
1. Your staff should be skeptical and vigilant
Keep an eye out for suspicious websites and emails. These types of fraud have specific trademark indicators, including misspellings and wonky-looking graphics, urgent or threatening languages, suspicious attachments, and requests to click on links. Instead of clicking on any links, tell staff to enter the URL or search trusted websites for the information.
2. Provide training and security protocols for staff
Your policies should be clearly stated, and staff must know how to apply them when working remotely. For example, staff should regularly change passwords, update and patch their computers promptly, and connect to work remotely using a virtual private network (VPN).
3. Online payments can be made using an address verification system (AVS)
AVS is a way to make transactions more secure and less likely to be fraudulent. It verifies each customer’s billing address by connecting the cardholder’s issuing banks. This combination of CVV2 verification (where customers enter the three- to four-digit code on their credit card back) makes this option the most secure.
Your company can reap the benefits of a business credit card. Your customers might also depend on their credit cards to manage their finances. You need to make sure you are protecting their and your interests.
4. Create a policy for duplicate channels of communication when sensitive data is being transmitted
Staff members who need to send sensitive data or obtain files from email messages should be advised to contact the purported sender by phone or letter to confirm that they have sent it.
5. Comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS)
PCI DSS provides guidelines and best practices to receive, transmit, and store card data. These guidelines will help ensure your customers transact as securely as possible and give you peace of mind.
6. Supply a VPN for remote access
Businesses need to securely access files and other information from their offices, as many of their employees work remotely. Install a VPN to protect your company’s data and ensure that all employees are familiar with its use.
7. Wi-Fi networks can better protect employees
Remote employees can be assisted by a trained staff member over the phone to improve their Wi-Fi router passwords. They must understand that only secured Wi-Fi networks are allowed for company business.
Companies need to be more proactive to avoid potential problems and keep their customers’ faith.
Four steps to respond to data breaches
Even if all protocols are in place, there’s still a chance that you will be a victim of cybercrime. These are the four steps to take if you suspect that you have been compromised.
1. Assess the damage
Instruct information security personnel to examine the details of the breach. It includes what information was compromised, which business functions were affected, and who the attacker might have been. As they evaluate what went wrong, the team should keep a log and identify possible fixes.
2. Inform authorities
Inform your local police about the incident, including details on how criminals gained access. You can also inform the FBI to file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Even if the problem appears small, it could be part of a larger pattern that authorities monitor.
3. Notify customers affected
Notify customers immediately if there has been a breach of their information. They can then take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves. To ensure that an investigation is not impeded, however, you should first notify law enforcement.
4. Any weaknesses should be fixed
Once you have assessed the situation and communicated with the relevant parties, it is time to learn from the incident and make any necessary adjustments. It would help if you worked with your information security team to determine what improvements you can make to prevent another breach from happening again. Also, be sure to address any weaknesses identified by the incident.
It’s crucial to be proactive when it comes to Cybersecurity
Cybercrime is on the rise, and there is a good chance you will be in some danger or even a successful breach within the next few months or years. Therefore, you should have as many policies and procedures in place as possible to protect yourself from an intrusion. Also, plan how you will react if criminals attempt to test your defenses.
Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the authors Andrew Napolitano.