If yous is like most ecommerce businesses today, you’ve probably used modern technology like automation, cross-platform integration and artificial intelligence for various reasons. You might use it to enhance your customer experience and marketing strategies, to handle online transactions like payments, communicate with people, and more.
It wasn’t long ago that only some stakeholders at a subset of companies were bent on ensuring that business processes are as digitized as possible. Today, 97% of all IT executives are involved with digital transformation initiatives in one way or another.
The digital transformation age has certainly offered game-changing advantages for your business, but it also carries risks with it, especially in the area of cybersecurity. After all, your online operations involve handling a healthy amount of information and money, which are a tempting treasure for cybercriminals.
They will carry out cyberattacks that, when successful, will open the door for them to steal your virtual valuables.
That is why, in this era of inexorable digital transformation, you need more than ever to protect your business against cyberattacks.
In this post, I can share with you how you can do just that. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Provide extensive staff training.
Did you know that 78 percent of company managers admit to having accidentally emailed sensitive information to people who shouldn’t have access to it? If this is what’s happening among managers, imagine how much exposure to data breaches are caused by employee negligence as a whole.
This can take many forms, including clicking on malicious links, losing removable devices or using weak passwords. These mistakes can ecommerce cause store owners to lose tens of thousands to even millions of dollars and spend just as much to rebuild their enterprise.
If you’re a small business, a single human error has the potential to wipe out your entire operation.
Many employees, however, are unaware of their company’s information security protocols or the proper cybersecurity measures in general. That is why you need to fill the gap with an extensive cybersecurity training for your staff.
Invest in tapping a cybersecurity expert to educate them about topics like:
- Strengthening their usernames and passwords
- Public WiFi risks
- Social engineering schemes, like email phishing and SMSishing
- Detecting fraudulent emails and tactics
- Means for malware to enter your systems and networks.
2. Guard your email domain.
Email remains a primary communication channel among businesses, and therefore, a target for cybercriminals to hijack and execute their attacks.
One of these attacks is phishing.
After all these years, phishing still works as one of the hackers’ means to access your email accounts. Hackers unleash phishing campaigns to trick you into clicking malicious links, volunteering sensitive information via forms on spoofed websites or downloading infected files.
Once you do that and your cyber defenses are weak, malware can enter your networks, permitting hackers to steal your data and credentials.
Hackers can even intercept your emails, insert malicious links or files, and fool your subscribers into accessing malware, all while the messages are under your business name.
To help guard your email domain against phishing attacks, you can apply authentication protocols like Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC).
DMARC detects phishing techniques, hinders spammers from spoofing your email address, and blocks the messages before you even see them in your inbox. Training, however, is still crucial to prevent cyberattacks, in addition to using email authentication protocols. Executives, in particular, need both basic and relevant, higher-level cybersecurity training that includes detecting phishing and whaling campaigns, among others.
3. Establish a management plan for cyberattacks.
In the present digitalization era, cyberattacks may not be a case of whether they happen or not — but when they can happen. As a business owner, not only do you need to fortify your cyber defenses, you also need to manage cyberattacks when they take place.
To do that, you need to establish a management plan and share that with your staff.
When planning how to manage a cyber crisis, keep in mind the following:
- Alternative communication channels. During a cyber incident, online communication means technologies may not function effectively. Use optional communication systems that don’t depend on your central company structure.
- Hard copies of data assets. Back up data stored on your computers with hard copies. Data assets may include contacts, procedures, and others critical to your operations.
- Over-dependence on technology. To bolster your plan, make sure you have some low-tech options in place, as some communication mechanisms may be inoperative in a cyber attack.
- Familiarity with the scope, objectives, and motives of possible attacks, such as ill-earned profit, denial of service, reconnaissance, and others. Focus on these aspects when a breach occurs.
- Experts and law enforcement agencies. Contact third-party cybersecurity, public relations, and legal experts, as well as the proper police officers and regulators in case of cyber crises.
- Vigilance. Continually be alert, especially when you experience business downtime or close your store after office or on holidays; and others.
4. Control access to the most critical assets.
Controlling who can access which of your critical assets is essential to protect your business from cyberattacks. Doing so lessens the risk of acquiring and divulging confidential information for unrelated or unauthorized purposes.
Asset access governance also helps curtail the list of possible hacking entry points and suspects should cyberattacks occur, enabling you to identify and catch the culprit more quickly.
When restricting who can get a hold of your assets, you should remember that user access levels don’t have to be the same across various departments and business units. For instance, your logistics unit does not need to see your financial and administrative files, nor does your marketing department constantly need to view HR records.
What you should do is to authorize specific data access only to people whose functions directly align with them.
Establish information security guidelines as well, like in what situations people may acquire copies of data, and how long they should keep particular files and data.
5. Make cybersecurity readiness a core part of your culture.
Training is vital to build your cybersecurity, but to preserve and reinforce it, you need to implement an influential culture of it in your company.
You must enforce security protocols strictly for the staff’s and executives’ compliance. Awareness and sensitization campaigns must be frequent throughout the year. You can even incentivize employees who report cybersecurity issues, incidents, or questionable activity.
You must also impose appropriate penalties on severe and repeat wrongdoers in line with your code of conduct.
6. Plan for your recovery from cyberattacks.
If your business does experience cyberattacks, you should not only carry out your management plan but also prepare for your recovery.
You can do so with a recovery plan in place, which helps organize your resources and shorten the amount of time needed to pinpoint breaches and repair urgent business services.
Here are some things to note when planning your recovery:
- Define your most critical data. Doing this lets you identify what data to prioritize with the strongest defenses and immediate mitigation steps. It also allows you to calculate how much you might lose and need to recover.
- Determine means of recovery at which levels of cyber attack experienced. Doing so helps you know how you can continue operating while rebuilding your business.
In this digital transformation age, hackers have a richer opportunity to get their dirty hands on your data and other assets.
If you have weak cybersecurity infrastructure and knowledge, hackers can exploit that and do everything they can to enter your networks.
Investing in these and other security measures in this digitization era can save your reputation, customers, finances, and the entire enterprise.