5 practical ways to protect your shop online

July 8, 2016

Don’t wait. Protect your shop online today.

You know the feeling. It’s that nervous hesitation. Should I open that email? Is it really safe to “Click here?” Did I give too much personal information? Today, staying cyber safe is always in the back of our minds. Protect your shop online. Follow these 5 practical steps.

1.) Strong passwords

Did you know the most common password is the word “Password?” It’s followed by the 2nd most popular password, “123456.” According to a 2015 report by ThreatMetrix, the point of login is especially vulnerable for cyber threats. Women, because they tend to use common words like their pet’s or children’s names, appear to be more vulnerable to hacking. When creating a strong password, make sure you add all of the following.

  • Numbers
  • Upper and lower case letters
  • Symbols when it’s possible
  • At least 8 characters

Change your passwords regularly no matter how clever you think you are.

2.) Basic security software

There are several basic systems you can put into place to protect the information on your desktop immediately. “Ask Leo!” gives you the bottom line.

  • Add a router, even if you only have one computer. It can be used as your main firewall.
  • Use Windows Defender which is already installed on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10. This can help to keep your computer secure.
  • Check to see that Windows Update and Windows Firewall are both turned on to keep your computer as current and safe as possible.

Wrongfully, Mac users assume their computers are safer. If you’re using a Mac for your business, regularly check for updates and make sure your firewall is running as well.

3.) A social media policy

As part of your Employee Manual (which every shop should have), include a social media policy as another way to protect your shop online. Upfront, your Manual must state any discussion of their employment must be handled in person rather than online. Although disgruntled employees have the legal right to complain online about their working situations, make it understood that you are willing and eager to discuss it with them first. Add these other ideas to your Social Media Policy.

  • Ask that employees leave their place of employment blank on their Facebook page. By doing that, their private lives won’t reflect on your shop.
  • Outline what is considered a confidential topic not to be discussed on social media.
  • If you give your employees access to your shop’s social media accounts, make sure their contact with your customers is always respectful and friendly.

4.) Secure your shop’s email accountprotect your shop online

Choose a trusted email provider to send business emails. A provider has stronger filtering capabilities. Educate your employees about what to look for when opening an email that looks like Spam or a scam. Receive emails without images being displayed first. Once you know the email is from a reputable sender, click on “Display images below.” Often, images and logos are tied to Spam accounts.

5.) Now’s the time to move your shop’s data to the cloud

If you have done these basics to protect your shop online, it’s time to move your data to the cloud. Hardware failure, theft of your computer, fire or flood damage, or a virus are just a few of the risks in keeping your data only on your computer. By converting that data to a web based system, you are automatically assured that your shop’s point-of-sale (POS) data is kept safe somewhere else. In a shameless plug for SimpleConsign, these are just a few of the safety features we provide:

  • Your data is continually backed up.
  • Traxia has the strength and protection of Amazon Web Services (AWS) behind us (AWS also provides security for organizations such as the US Navy, Pfizer and Intuit)
  • Backups of your data occur on both the east and west coast. If something were to happen to one data center, the other still has your information.

 

Deb McGonagle

I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Coordinator for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.