Founding an online business – or moving your business online – comes with a multitude of advantages. Flexibility, scalability, and a sheer unlimited pool of international customers are just some of them.

However, running an online business also means that you are facing some new challenges and dangers that you would not otherwise – or to a much lesser degree. In particular, this involves cyber security issues.

Since the start of the pandemic, cyber crime has skyrocketed by 600%. And Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report shows that many of these data breaches involve small businesses – 28%, in fact.

A data breach can be costly or even ruinous for an online business. Apart from costing an average of $150,000, it can also fatally damage customers’ trust.

To protect your online business, there are several essential measures you should take. Here are the three most important ones.

Step Up Your Account Security

First, it’s crucial to implement high password and account security.

When you’re running an online business, the majority of your operations happen in the cloud – everything from finances to customer relationship management.

These accounts are attractive targets for cyber criminals. While most cloud services maintain high cyber security standards for their own servers, your log-in data is a weak point. 

To protect your business, choose long and complex passwords, or use a password manager to generate and store secure passwords. Where you can, activate two-factor authentication (2FA).

In addition, make sure to avoid reusing passwords, and separate your private and business accounts. If you run your business with a team, set up a cyber security policy so that everyone is aware of your safety standards – and sticks to them.

Invest in Cyber Security Solutions

cyber security

Second, make sure to use state-of-the-art cyber security solutions. Considering the potentially disastrous consequences of a successful cyberattack, it’s worth investing in quality.

Most of the providers on the market today – from Avast and Kaspersky to Norton and Avira – offer a combination of tools to detect malware, monitor your network, screen your mails, and automatically update software with the latest security patches.

Some platforms also include a Virtual Private Networks solution (VPN), a password manager, and breach monitoring services.

Plan for the Worst Case Scenario: Backup, Recovery, and Insurance

cyber security

Third, plan for the worst case scenario – a successful data breach.

Data backups are invaluable in the event of a breach, especially in ransomware attacks. They ensure that you can keep operating while you deal with the technical fallout of the attack.

Set up either a cloud backup or an external backup solution, and make sure to back up your data periodically. Test how to run a recovery program from these backups and how long it takes.

Finally, consider acquiring cyber insurance for your online business. Due to the rise in attacks, many providers, such as Deacon, now offer specialised cyber policies for businesses.

Cyber insurance helps you cope with extortion demands, rebuilding your network, identity theft and subsequent fraud. Many policies also provide aid in remedying the legal aftershocks of a breach, and paying for cyber security, legal, and fraud specialists.