Attackers do not discriminate between large or small organizations. As we gear up to face the rising threats of 2018, here are 5 security tips for SMBs with low budgets.

One could argue that security is undoubtedly the most important aspect for the success of any business that is powered by the internet in today’s world. Hacking has become a sort of norm that has taken traditional robbery and anarchy to a whole new level.

According to a securityintelligence.com report, the global cost of cyber crime in 2017 exceeded $600 Billion. If you thought this number was big, 2018 is threatening to do twice the damage.

We’ve seen the likes of Walmart, Target and eBay all get hacked and these are organizations are worth billions with massive budgets to spend on security and a recovery plan should there be an unforeseen circumstance.

What about small-medium sized businesses?

Attackers have intentionally turned their attention to SMB’s because there is a common misconception that only larger organizations with more money are worth the effort. There is, however, the other side of the story which exposes SMB’s as easier targets because of their lack of knowledge in security plus their low budgets allocated to security makes them easier targets.

The truth is that even with low budgets, businesses can take basic security measures to potentially ward off attacks that may cause serious damaging effects on a business.

Here are 5 E-Commerce security tips for SMBs on a low budget:

#1. Backup and Redundancy – Backup’s have become much easy to do from the older forms of data backup done on hard drives. Today, cloud storage is offered to many businesses that take a backup of your data both on demand or automatically. Do your research and choose cloud services that give primary importance to security. With that being said, it’s not a bad idea to back your data up on a hard drive just so you know you are in control at all times.

#2. PCI compliance – If your business is fueled by payments made on the internet, you may already be aware of what a PCI-DSS compliance is. For those of you who do not know, the PCI is an international best practices group for payment account security. They set up and continue to develop security standards in the area of online payment. If your business accepts payments from standard credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express, then a PCI DSS compliance is a must have.

A governing compliance not only helps your business from attacks on your payment procedures but also keeps you from severe penalties imposed by cybersecurity laws if you didn’t have one.

#3. Encryption – Encryption of your data is critical in preventing attackers from being able to penetrate into your systems that are connected to the internet. Encryption is what allows us to send private information like card data or client information across the internet without anyone else in the middle being able to see it. Ensure that critical capture points of all your payment information are encrypted. Other data that is essentially needed to be encrypted are live chats, order forms, customer login forms etc.

Make sure all the login details are encrypted before or at the time of form fill not after the login details have been entered. On another note, at the very least using a VPN would be advisable if you were using a public Wi-Fi to transmit your data.

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#4. Automation: If you notice, a lot of the military defense of our countries are becoming automated. Detecting an enemy at a distance with the least possible effort can help prevent catastrophic incidents. Similarly, security automation for your business’s applications can help monitor security all times and alert you once it detects a threat which could be dangerous.

The thought of purchasing automated security tools may sound expensive but there are great security solutions that give you a decent bargain for a reasonable price. In fact, Appknox offers a free security testing trial on one of your mobile applications which gives you a detailed report on all threats you may face. Look for other solutions which do the same and choose the best one that suits your business type.

#5. Cybersecurity training for employees: This point may sound silly to a lot of people but education is one of the most important aspects of development in life. You would be surprised that many of the cyber attacks that have happened to businesses in the past have happened because of silly uninformed employee mistakes. In fact, according to a study conducted by welivesecurity, one-third of their total respondents identified ‘none’ as the amount of cybersecurity training that they had received from their current employer.

It is sad that most of the situations in SMBs are similar and lack of education with the right practices of internet usage is one of the primary causes of vulnerabilities in a company’s application. For example, a lot of the employees do not know that suspicious emails have ill intentions towards your business and hence shouldn’t be opened. A briefing on how to identify these emails would be remarkably useful in helping prevent silly employee mistakes.

As SMBs we may use the excuse of the lack of budget or even downgrade the priority of security for the success of our business. However, it is of prime importance to get expert advice (one that doesn’t rip you off) to ensure you are doing the right things that help secure your business. We would hate to see all our hard work taken in the blink of an eye. It has happened before and will happen again.

Appknox conducted a study recently which shows the presence of high-level vulnerabilities detected in over 84% of the m-commerce android apps in the USA. These are businesses that are commonly used by consumers to purchase things online and also businesses that claim to have their security practices intact. There’s only one question that is left to be asked and that is ‘if these big businesses have taken security measures to secure their data and are still being hacked, how much more vulnerable is your business without a strong security strategy?’

Take a look at this FREE Report to gain insights as to where your business may be most vulnerable.

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