Top 5 Strategies for SMBs to Secure Their Online Businesses

A close monitoring of online resources, strong password/access management, security awareness, and backup plan to cope with any untoward situation make a strong base for cyber security of an online website.

Security strategyThe think-tank at Washington Post estimated that the annual cost to the global economy due to cybercrime and espionage stood at around $445 billion in the year 2013-14; while, McAfee estimated the annual loss to the global economy between $375 billion to $575 billion. Only the United States of America sustained over $100 billion loss due to cybercrimes followed by Germany that lost over $60 billion during the same period. In the United States, more than 69% US executive of fortune 500 companies are worried about the adverse impact of cybercrimes on their business growth. In the United Kingdom more than 87% of small businesses reported that they sustained cyber-breaches that caused an average annual loss of about $100,000.

Owing to these eye opening facts pertaining to cybercrime and espionage, it is very imperative to have a very strong and properly carved cyber security policy in place to avert any unseen business losses. Most of the online small and medium sized businesses depend fully on their one source of income that is online website; any kind of mishap or security breach on their websites can lead to very disastrous business losses. Therefore, to make your small online businesses more secure and robust, take very strong strategic steps to establish powerful security system. In this article, we are going to discuss the top 5 security related strategies to make your online business more secure and reliable.

1.   Website & Plugin Monitoring

MonitoringIt is very important to note that security is not a one-time task but, it is a consistent and regular process that runs on 24x7x365 basis. The most important strategy for an online security is to have a very close monitoring of your online resources such as website, applications, mobile apps, plugins, servers and others. There are many enterprise level monitoring services and tools available in the marketplace to track the performance/health of your online website, and the associated plugins. A large number of SMBs normally use WordPress, Joomla, and other content management platforms for their online businesses. So, you should opt for a professional grade monitoring service that can monitor not only website/server health but also the plugins and other accessories added to the websites. SiteObservers  all-in-one free monitoring service is first of its kind that offers WordPress plugin monitoring along with many other monitoring services. You get instant information about any kind of issue or cyber attack on your website/service; thus, you can act instantly to avert any big loss.

2.   Regular Backups

Backups

Nowadays, the cyber-crimes and espionage has become so sophisticated that even a very powerful security plan can fail sometimes. In such conditions, the backups of your data and online business are the only way to save you from big business losses. It is recommended for SMBs by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) that all important data should be backed up on different computers through automated/manual processes on regular intervals. The critical data may include spreadsheets, HR files, financial files, accounts (payable/receivable), word processing files, and databases. Any kind of loss of data due to cyber attack can be restored with the latest data backed up on your local computers or on cloud storage. The regular backup reduces business losses to a very minimal level.

3.   Strong Device Protection Policy

device protection

The internet ecosystem is changing very rapidly; new concepts are replacing the legacy systems and ideas. Mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops, and many others have brought about the concepts of bring your own device (BYOD), internet of things (IoT) and other such ideas. In such situation, the security of devices has become very critical. The following steps are necessary for a strong device protection policy:

  • The password protection policy should also be very strong based on predefined management strategy.
  • There should be a policy in place to change all passwords after certain period of time.
  • There should be security software installed on the devices that are used by the company employees so that any kind of data leakage should be tracked and avoided.
  • All customers and business partners should be restricted from accessing critical business data through security policy.
  • There should be a very strict policy to download any third party application or software on word devices so that any malicious code is prevented to intrude into online business systems.

4.   Contingency Plan

contengency planFor a small business, it is very difficult to make a very comprehensive enterprise level contingency plan for security threats but, they can do make a realistic contingency plan within their own limited resources. For a reliable small business emergency plan take the following steps:

  • Make sure that at-least one technical resource is available at a very short notice. Hiring technical resources through freelance workplaces is better option due to low cost and diverse time zones.
  • Always keep a complete step by step procedure to recover, and restore the website, server, apps, and other online resources.
  • Make a complete checklist of all actions and activities that are required to restore the business operations.
  • Find out the detailed root cause of the problem and its remedies, and document them properly for the future use; that will minimize your downtime in the future.

5.   Regular Updates

Regular updatesLast but not the least is the regular updates of all kinds of IT resources such as operating systems, applications, web platforms, plugins, supported browsers, antivirus software, and any other application or software used for business processes. A small business should make a habit to check updates on a regular basis or automate (wherever possible) the updates checking process through software tools, and as soon as any update or patch is released, the newer version should be immediately updated to avoid any malicious attacks. Large corporations have many tools that check and update all software resources of the company automatically but, for small businesses, it is not possible to bear such extra expenditures.  There are some online services available that can check the versions of your plugins and alert you for any new update released in the market.

It is very clear that all strategies need immediate information about your existing system and its health to properly implement the desired security policies. Enterprise level monitoring service provides you with the instant information about the health of your website, application, server, and plugins. So, to get more information about free website/server monitoring service, click here.

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How to Prevent Major Security Threats through Cloud Monitoring?

An old proverb ‘care is better than cure’ equally applies to the human health and an online server health by taking care of the server via cloud monitoring.

Security iconThere are several reasons for the bad performance and reduced uptime of an online server, application, or a website; absence of due diligence of server/service is one of them. The other security threats include traffic hijacking, DDoS, data breaches, data losses, and use of insecure APIs. The procedure and impact of all these threats is not very abrupt, but takes a little time before it becomes successful.

The major security threats – both internal and external – exploit different loopholes and flaws present in the system before they are fully successful on your server, application or website to affect adversely. A close monitoring of those pre-attack activities and flaws, which are used to exploit the system will help in preventing the risk and increasing the performance of your online services. Let’s elaborate the major internal and external threats and activities that either degrade the performance or completely bring the online systems to halt.

Internal Flaws

Internal threats are normally associated with the poor infrastructure and improper maintenance and non-updating of the system components. Firstly, the poor or outdated components decrease performance of the system to create unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unexpected responses to the normal process flows; and secondly, they provide the way for external threats to exploit those flaws and do more damage to the system. The main internal factors are given below.

  • Insufficient disk I/O volume
  • Unbalanced loads
  • Ignorance of CPU usage patterns
  • Misbehavior of processes
  • Overloading of available resources
  • Ignorance of security patches
  • Non-analysis of resources
  • Unawareness about root causes of performance degrades

External Flaws

The major parts of the external flaws are associated with network security and system firewalls that should be capable enough to detect and stop any malicious or suspicious activity from exploiting the internal loopholes. The main external threats are listed below.

  • Use of non-secure external APIs
  • Rolling out of updates without proper study and testing
  • Use of outdated security tools and systems.
  • An improper security policy implemented in firewalls

The external attacks are normally used to exploit above mentioned internal and external flaws of the online systems to get access to the system and then, fully overwhelm the entire system and its security mechanism. Once the entire system boggles down, the system is rebooted to execute the maliciously intruded codes on the system and thus, the hackers get full control of the system.

How Cloud Monitoring Helps?

The cloud based server monitoring or website monitoring service is a continuous watchdog of the performance, degradation, status of resource use, internal activities, external activities and numerous other factors. A good server monitoring service offers numerous features such as monitoring of CPU, disk l/O, memory, and network I/O usage, recoding activity logs, monitoring different processes of servers, monitoring of different parameters of web or mobile applications and many others. The cloud based monitoring service also offers instant alert systems that report any kind of uneven behavior of application, server or website to the concerned personnel through multiple sources such as emails, SMS, pagers, and social media. The root cause analysis RCA is also a fundamental part of cloud monitoring that provides deep analysis of the cause and trends that brought the system to halt or other such incidents.

If a system administrator gets every bit of information about his/her website, application or server on time and with a deep analysis report, he/she can make informed decisions instantly and can not only improve the performance of the server but also can avert many hidden security threats and performance risks.

To get the highly professional cloud based free server monitoring services click here.

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