The US experienced a boom in entrepreneurship thanks to the onset of the pandemic and the Great Resignation. According to data from the US Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics, there was a record 5.4 million applications in 2021 alone. There was also a surge in digital revenue, with consumers spending over $870.78 billion online with US merchants. In 2022, 29.7% of all business activity is expected to be online, and we can expect to see a steady increase in the years to come.
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Ways to Protect Your Online Business that Can Prevent Unexpected Crisis
Despite most of their economic activity happening remotely, online businesses are just as at risk from security threats as onsite ones. Recently, San Francisco-based company Twilio suffered from a phishing attack that could harm over 150,000 of its corporate customers, including Facebook and Uber. Phishing, insider work, and malware or ransomware attacks are some of the main threats that online business owners have to deal with. This is why online businesses should have the following defense systems implemented:
1 Backup Data Regularly
Regularly backing up your data is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to protect your e-commerce business, whether or not you operate fully online. The rise of cloud storage services has made this process more efficient, especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). TechTarget explains that you can choose to back up directly to a public cloud or a service provider. Either way, this will allow you to secure online business data in case of a cyberattack, data theft, or physical damage.
2 Establish a Legal Entity
As your online business grows, it’s beneficial to consider reclassifying it to a more protected structure, such as a limited liability corporation (LLC). How to Start an LLC states that it’s a quick and easy way to keep your business separate from your personal assets. An LLC can also be managed by a sole proprietorship or multiple members, making it a fantastic choice for SMBs. Plus, by forming an LLC to run your online business, you’ll be qualified for a 20% pass-through deduction valid from 2018 to 2025.
3 Get Your Business Insured
Even after forming an LLC, it’s also important that you have your business insured to protect you against any liabilities, lawsuits, or issues that your business structure might not cover. SmallBizTrends explains that your insurance needs are likely tied to your business setup. For instance, most online businesses are run by a handful of people, so employment practices liability insurance isn’t likely to be a top priority. One possible option that may be helpful is getting cyber insurance, especially if you’re handling crucial customer information online.
4 Operate on Secure Network and Data
It’s also crucial that you keep your operating systems and security software up-to-date. Keep data threats at bay by applying a firewall, PC protection, and anti-spam software. Moreover, wireless networks are more prone to hacking, so invest in strong encryption settings and make your network invisible. And if your company operates on a remote setup, it’s also your best bet to create a plan for your employees’ personal devices so that you can still maintain productivity while promoting safety.
Related reading: “Boost Your Resistance to Phishing Attacks.”
5 Provide Cybersecurity Training
As previously mentioned, insider work and human error are actually leading causes of data breaches. In our article on ‘Crucial Lessons for Building a Successful Business, we emphasize that giving too many responsibilities to employees without enough guidance or measurement is a huge misstep. So if you’re a business that plans to move into the online sphere, make sure you also bring your people on board. Give them sufficient cybersecurity training to help keep them and your business safe in a digital landscape.
In this article, we’ve enumerated five ways you can safeguard your online business. There are plenty more ways if you do your research. So keep digging because through learning more, you’ll be able to determine the best steps for your business and also transfer that knowledge to your employees and peers. It is also wise to be prepared legally for any troubles that may come your way, even though you don’t anticipate any specific ones. Security is one of the most important investments you can make for your business, so make sure you don’t cut any corners.
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