I am often surprised at the different mind sets between online and offline business owners. In reality, a business is a business – no matter the environment in which it is conducted. Security is a thorny issue with consumers. They want their data protected, especially when it comes to their email addresses, their postal addresses, and more importantly, their credit card numbers. When we talk about online security, there are number of issues at play – your customers data, your own data, and the integrity of your website.
Bricks and mortar business owners know all about security. Client information is often locked in a filing cabinet, in a locked office inside a locked building. Some businesses also have a locked fence around the perimeter, guard dogs, intruder detection systems, and even real people as nightwatchman.
Move from the bricks and mortar environment to an online environment, and security goes out the window. Small businesses in particular are vulnerable to attacks on their website. In most cases, they are attacked by those looking to create mischief, however, that mischief can result in your website being de-indexed by the search engines, and visitors warned off your site. It won’t take long to kill your business if there are no customers entering your site.
Customer data is important, and in recent years there have been several attacks on businesses attempting to gain access to that data. As a business person, you need to treat your online business in much the same way a bricks and mortar business. Locking your customers data away is not difficult – it’s even easier if you use third party billing systems, and only keep the minimum customer data necessary.
Your website is no different. That too can be protected in many different ways – and the required software doesn’t have to be expensive. Start with a quality host and half the battle is won. Small businesses are easily destroyed because of holes in their security. There are many tools for small business that can help plug holes, use them, and you and your customers can rest a little easier.