3 Easy Ways to Enhance Your Online Security - dummies

By Shannon Belew, Joel Elad

Whether you have an e-commerce store or any other type of business with a website, you most likely understand the types of security threats that exist, including hackers, viruses, spam, identity theft, and denial of service (DoS) attacks. Discover three easy actions you and your employees can take to increase the online security of your business.

Become a password guru

Managing passwords is the most basic of online security advice yet a password breach is one of the most common sources of compromised security. Mastering passwords means becoming a stickler for the following rules:

  • Change your password every 30 days, or anytime there is a known security breach of a website you use

  • Do not use the same password for multiple websites

  • Create unique passwords that include a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols (when allowed)

  • Use a password generator (such as 1Password or LastPass) to create and manage your passwords

Take a second look at logins

Two-step authentication is increasingly being offered for logging into everything from online bank accounts to social media sites. Also called two-factor authentication (2FA), this process requires multiple steps or items to log in to a website. Usually, a site asks only for a username and password, which is one-factor authentication. The two-factor process adds another layer of activity to the login process.

For example, you may be required to enter an additional piece of information or a code that is delivered to your mobile phone or that only you know; or you may have to provide something associated with a physical object (such as a key fob or credit card).

The challenge with two-factor authentication is that it is usually up to the individual to opt-in, or choose to use the process. You also have to enable the process beforehand through a quick setup process. And, of course, people don’t always want to take more time or effort to log in to a site. Regardless, this extra layer of security is worth the extra time it requires, especially when logging into sites that utilize and store sensitive or personal data.

Turn down mobile access

Many people enjoy the convenience of working from anywhere by using a mobile device such as a phone or tablet. However, when you use a mobile device at home or in public places, you leave yourself open to a security breach. Online thieves find it easy and convenient to interrupt the communication between your phone and a website and capture data that’s being exchanged between the two, whether that data is passwords or bank account numbers.

To minimize mobile security risks, do the following:

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi and opt for a secure network instead.

  • Turn off Bluetooth functionality and airport mode when not in use.

  • Require the use of a password to access your phone’s functionality.

When it comes to online security, avoid making the assumption that everyone working in or associated with your business (or who have access to sensitive data) is following basic security precautions. Remind employees on a regular basis to take the necessary steps to fight potential security breaches.