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Any company that conducts transactions or stores data online should understand the basics of cyber security and how to implement it. Failing to account for this critical aspect of business operations could leave you facing substantial hardships and mishaps related to financial stability, reputation, and the integrity of your company’s mission-critical files.

While the majority of entrepreneurs and company managers are already equipped with a decent anti-virus suite, there are many other facets to consider when developing a well-rounded approach to online corporate security. With that said, anyone should be motivated to improve security after considering the following possible consequences of neglecting this fundamental aspect of internet business:

1. Theft of Data and Finances

Of course, hackers aren’t out there wasting their time breaking into databases for no reason – monetary gain is always the primary motive. As such, nefarious individuals won’t hesitate to steal precious data like credit card and account numbers, so it’s up to the storer of such information to ensure it is fully secured at all times. Conventional firewall technology typically helps keep data safe on the server side, but once it’s transmitted (i.e. during a financial transaction), there’s a chance that it could be intercepted if sufficient encryption isn’t used.

Thus, it’s imperative for online business owners to look at specialised corporate payment processing services that offer superior security and support. For example, many industry leaders rely on AccessPay secure business payments rather than taking the risk of depending on commercial payment processors that have a higher incidence of fraud and account security issues. In fact, this is one of the best ways to secure bulk payments on an ongoing basis.

2. Hacking and Ransomware Attacks

Aside from securing transactions, the static state of a server also needs to be heavily defended. Achieving this typically involves keeping the server maintained and updated by a proficient IT specialist, or utilising managed hosting services to further outsource the task. Aside from protecting the server that your site is hosted on, it’s also necessary to secure company computers and any other devices that connect to your network, as malware can spread locally as well.

One way to reduce the likelihood of a local malware infection is to only allow certified company devices to connect. Giving employees free reign over the same company Wi-Fi that is used to conduct sensitive transactions is never a good idea, as one of their unprotected devices could make the network vulnerable to intrusion. With major corporations falling victim to a number of well-publicised recent attacks, no company is completely immune, so taking preventative measures is still highly recommended.

3. Lack of Trust with Prospective Customers and Investors

Finally, a less threatening yet just as serious consequence of poor online security could come in the form of potential customers deciding to look elsewhere due to trust issues. Typically, this isn’t a problem unless your site has already fallen victim to an attack that compromised customer data, but making the elementary mistake of operating an eCommerce store without an encrypted (HTTPS) connection is another common example that may cause prospects to turn away.

Likewise, a poorly secured online business is less likely to find favour in the eyes of investors, as savvy online funding specialists will undoubtedly notice any apparent flaws in the company’s security. On the other hand, having certificates and receipts to show that you’ve invested in security is a great way to let investors know that you’ve already taken the initiative to cover the security aspect of the endeavour even before seeking external funding.

Avoiding All the Above Problems is Easy, But Correcting Them Is Not

Although it may seem as though a hacking attack or other cyber threat would never affect your business, these occurrences are much more common than you might assume. Thus, instead of waiting until something horrible happens before you take action, it’s better to go ahead take a few simple measures to safeguard your company from disaster. The good news is, once those initial efforts have been handled, maintaining online security will be as simple as keeping your software, services, and maintenance procedures up-to-date, preferably with the help of trained professionals.