4 tips to protect businesses online

These days, online security is a matter of great importance for people who are doing business via the web. That is why the content of email messages, financial information, VoIP conversations, and other vulnerable data needs to be highly protected. It is the choice of every business owner how to protect their valuable information. However, with regard to this issue, the more it is taken seriously, the greater possibility there is of keeping vital data safe and anonymous.

Online data risk and fraud are some of the greatest concerns facing businesses, with the number of hackers and attacks on the rise. Companies that neglect their online security can easily fall victims to cybercriminals. Of particular interest are personnel files, social security numbers, financial accounts, credit card numbers and sensitive information e.g. regarding upcoming products.

There are many security methods that business owners can use to protect their data. Below are the most popular and trusted.

1. Use a password manager
A password manager is a service that will create strong passwords and store them safely. This is a secure tool to avoid using the same password to login to different accounts.

People who use password managers do not need to remember their passwords; only the master password to access the program. Besides, passwords that such programs create are random, without a pattern or structure. They usually include capitals, numbers and symbols. This makes them strong enough to defend against adversaries.

Although it is a good way to make online anonymity and security stronger, it still does not guarantee absolute protection of a company's vulnerable data or each employee's personal information.

A hint:

- If a website requires security questions to finish the sign up, the answers should not be honest. Otherwise, even strong passwords will not help. Attackers will find the right answers on the Internet in no time and without effort.

2. Two-step verification
To get a higher level of encryption, two-step verification is needed. It is an extra step to a basic login procedure that requires confirming an identity by two different methods. The first one includes something a user knows, such as a password or PIN. The second method includes something a user possesses. It might be a one-time code, sent by SMS or fingerprint.

In this case, attackers will not be able to get full access to the account, as they do not possess a device that is needed to complete the authentication.

3. Avoid phishing attacks
As a rule, people trust the content of the messages they receive from familiar senders. This is a good chance for cybercriminals to take “advantage” of the situation by sending a message as if it was from a known person or company. Usually it contains a link or attached files. The content looks safe, but, in fact, it is malicious.

Following the link will cause the user's device to become infected with malware, enabling the attacker to remotely control everything an executive or an employee is doing on their computers e.g. record the screen, insert false records, and steal company or personal information.

Another method employed by hackers is to send a link that leads to a fake website claiming to be hosted on a well-known and trusted service, like Google Docs. It means that any information required to access the site will be available to a cybercriminal.

The best way to avoid phishing attacks, and to protect sensitive data, is to simply not follow any received links. Although, this is difficult to imagine these days. The more realistic way is to check the received information with the sender via a different channel. If there is not any other way other than following the link, the address bar of a browser should be checked. A domain name has to match the relevant website. If it doesn’t, it is best not to continue.

4. VPN - security safeguard
One of the most widely known and the easiest security method to adopt is a virtual private network (VPN). This service creates a tunnel between a user’s device and one of the servers it is connected to. All the network and online activity travels through it. VPN allows the user to hide sensitive information, including the real IP address, from attackers.

VPN is a strong encryption tool that will keep adversaries out of any data that is needed to be shared through the Internet. Online banking, internal data, and communications are safe and anonymous with this technology.

Security online is possible, though it requires thought and step-by-step implementation.
The aforementioned methods are examples of the necessary precautions that will help avoid online fraud. Perhaps most important of all, however, is for business owners to have common sense and awareness.

Julia Glazunova, Сontent Manager at KeepSolid