Cyber Security For The Little Guy

Now, I’m just a small time crafter who does a few shows a year during the holidays and then keeps my brand alive the rest of the year with a small online presence. However, it doesn’t matter how big or small a business is when it comes to vulnerability to cyber attack. I depend on Internet shoppers just like Neiman Marcus does but, unlike Neiman’s, I can’t afford the best in cyber security. What’s a small timer like me to do to play it safe in the scary world of cyber business?

If an entity as powerful as the U.S. military finds itself even vulnerable to cyber crime and hackers, is there even any hope that I can make it through a lifetime of online business unscathed? According to top U.S. technology experts, it’s no longer a matter of “if” I get hacked, it’s a matter of “when”.

Statistics reflect that over seventy percent of cyber crime is perpetrated against businesses who employ less than one hundred employees. This is not very encouraging news for folks like myself. Fortunately, there are a few things I can do to help myself, my business and my clientele.

For starters, it is important for me to understand what my particular vulnerabilities are. This can be done simply by keeping abreast of technology news related to what the current trends are in fraud that is conducted via the Internet. I may want to consult with a professional geek who can advise me of any point of weakness in my e-commerce design. It is also a good idea to update my personal knowledge of exactly what “phishing” is or how “malware” works and which is the latest and greatest software available to protect my system from such.

Next, after I have had a bit of technological education, I need to create a security policy and incorporate it into my online business scheme. By having defined protocols that create an orderly shopping experience, disruptions and suspicious activity is easier to recognize. The first place to start is with the gatekeeper, the passwords. Passwords should be updated regularly. In some cases they should be changed monthly or even weekly. When creating a password, whether I like it or not, it needs to be complex and unique. If a “password code book” is kept, it should never be kept in an area exposed and accessible to anyone other than those who are authorized to use the passwords. That means a locked desk drawer or, better yet, a locked safe.

Another safeguard that is simple is to just go old school. Pick up the phone and call the customer. Confirm the details of the transaction. It’s just good business. And, I kind of like that idea. I am a bit old fashioned and really only conducting e-commerce because, nowadays, it seems the only way anyone runs a business anymore! The mom and pop storefronts are a thing of the past. Hopefully, by implementing these safety measures, my cyber store won’t also become a thing of the past!