Don’t Be Reactive, Be Proactive – De-risk Your Business Today
How many of us subconsciously worry about the potential risks to our businesses in the online world? It’s like an itch you can’t scratch. You know there are threats and risks out there but you don’t know how they are going to affect you, where they are going to come from and when they will happen. The only thing you know for sure is that you aren’t immune from them and you could be the next victim of such an attack or threat.
The only defence to avoid this feeling is getting out ahead of the problems, being proactive not reactive. There are simple and effective steps you can take to ensure your business is as safe as it can be. You need to think about your business as several components that make up the whole. Each one of these components has its own risks and should be protected accordingly.
You protect your property with a burglar alarm, with locks, with a guard dog, with security and CCTV. These methods are preventative to threat. But what about the threat that sneaks in through your broadband? Your hardware needs to be as protected as the front door, because it’s the front door to your online business. Every business should download the latest firewall and anti- virus software. It should be rigorously maintained and updated, there is no point having an out of date firewall that won’t stop or recognise the latest attack. Put simply, would you put a fire extinguisher into your business as a deterrent, knowing it was empty?
If you store your vital business data online you should create a backup copy either on a back-up hard drive or on the cloud. Your passwords should be very strong in their integrity and changed regularly. There are automated software packages that will perform this task for you. Whether you use one or not, ensure the complexity of the password is high using case sensitivity, numbers as well as letters and words and phrases that are not specific to you or your business.
Your employees should be trained to represent your business ensuring that the professionalism and message you want to convey is delivered. If you don’t train your staff the implications could be catastrophic to your business, you wouldn’t for instance ask a new employee to drive a truck for you who didn’t have a driving license. They should understand how to use the technology within your business avoiding mistakes that might for example let in a virus or a hacker.
They should also understand how to represent the business on social media, employing the right etiquette and security methods. Losing sensitive data online because an employee doesn’t know what should or shouldn’t be shared is common and yet avoidable. Limiting the number of employees that have administrative access to social media accounts and having a clear social media policy will help keep your data safe. However even with these measures in place employees can jeopardize your brand and its reputation online through their own personal accounts.
So you have secured your technology and your people, but what about the unknowns outside of your control? Everyone is online 24/7, business is accessible on a global level and access to technology outside of the office, via smartphones etc reinforces this. You cannot possibly keep your business secure anymore on a 9-5 basis.
If you want to be alert to the threats and opportunities facing your business, you need to have eyes on everything that is mentioned about you all the time. Unless you are monitoring your business 24/7 this isn’t possible. What happens when a campaign that you have run online during the day is picked up by an American twitter account during their day, but in the middle of the night for you and negative references are made?
By the time you are aware of the damage it is normally too late. Part of your ongoing de-risking should be to monitor your online presence 24/7. There are automated versions like Google alerts that can take care of this for you, but only to a limited extent. These types of automated alert systems cannot determine sentiment and will therefore miss crucial information that will hurt your brand or business, for instance,“Well done xxxxxx, thanks for getting my delivery to me on time!”
An automated alert system would let this post through, not detecting the sarcasm. For 100% protection through monitoring, your only option is a business that uses agents and analysts to view all the information and make the decision as to whether it is a risk or not.