The year 2016 has given rise to numerous new startling online trends that spell problems for business owners everywhere. Perhaps one of the most notable is the increase in hackers targeting startup businesses that have yet to fully engage the cyber securities market.
Increasingly, businesses use social media to advertise. It’s a must—this form of advertising is not only considerably more affordable than traditional avenues, but it also appears to be much more effective. It also makes businesses that would otherwise never enter a criminal’s radar apt targets.
Small Businesses and Security
Because of these changes, it is essential that small businesses learn how to secure their client data and manage their advertisement campaigns. That doesn’t necessarily mean hiring someone to do the work, but it does mean organically integrating technology and security sense into every day practices.
Employees more than ever need to be educated by managers on how to recognize and avoid scams. That goes double for when they’re using private accounts on devices that are also used to access company assets; a security breach could not only compromise the individual, but the whole company.
This policy of “bring your own device” basically means private assets become interests of your business. That means advocating your workers use common security software, including anti-virus media and Virtual Private Networks. By protecting employees, you can mitigate the risks they pose to the company at large.
Avoiding PR Disasters
If there’s one thing big companies such as Wells Fargo have taught us this year, it’s that managing your company’s reputation is absolutely critical. When a big fiasco ends up going public and management goes on “internet trial,” their reactions can make or break the company’s image.
Utilizing social media in a way that both engages customers and furthers your company’s goals can improve things for all parties involved. That may mean learning to use humor and tact when engaging customers on a public forum; it may also mean learning to remove negative content. Sometimes ignoring a rude customer online is just as effective as trying to engage them.
Routing Out the Fakes
Another instance you’ll need to be increasingly aware of are fakes that claim to represent your business. Scammers and other criminals have been creating false pages on Facebook claiming to be affiliated with other businesses. In reality they are targeting your customers for theft or working to sully your business’s good name.
The occasional search for pages and businesses that sound similar to your own goes a long way, as Facebook and other social media outlets typically have a policy of shutting down pages that are out to commit fraud.
While this point hasn’t changed much, it remains true year after year: being proactive with your business is the best way to avoid whatever new dangers are on the rise. That means doing research; it means reading the latest blogs and magazines, and it means being dedicated to the life of your business both day and night.
There are few challenges you can’t handle if you’re staying up to date. If you’re truly involved, then chances are you have nothing to be afraid of.
About the Author: Shawna is a technology specialist with a focus on internet security. She advocates a variety of different strategies on Secure Thoughts for keeping individuals and businesses safe online, particularly the use of Virtual Private Networks and other forms of security software.