Keeping your business safe online

Most small businesses today have an online element. Some are based solely online, and even those that are based in offices or brick and mortar stores have an online presence which helps them to sell, grow and build loyal relationships with their customers. Many of the small businesses that exist today are only able to because of the amount of business they can attract online. The internet is a fantastic tool for small businesses, but, is it always safe?

No, it’s not. Everyone is at risk online, and it can seem as though big businesses have a lot more to lose. You might assume that no one will take the time to come after your small business when there are much bigger targets out there. But, these big businesses also have more money to spend. Most will have in-house IT departments and people to help. You might be a smaller target, but you are also an easier target.

Unfortunately, many small businesses launch without giving much thought to safety. People start selling products on eBay or Etsy and eventually launch their own online stores. Things grow and progress, and with so much to think about, safety isn’t given as much thought as it should be. In the real world, there are very tangible ways to keep your business safe and protected. You take out liability insurance, you install CCTV cameras, and you lock your doors and set alarms. You take the time to apply for patents and copyrights for products and names. Online, it’s different. But that doesn’t mean that it is less important. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can protect your business online.


Passwords are always your first line of defence, so choose them carefully. You’ll want different passwords for your website, your plugin accounts, your hosting site, and your FTP provider. You’ll also need passwords for your social media accounts and your computer. If all these passwords mean that you forget some, a source link can help. But, most modern computers and devices will suggest and save passwords for you. There are also password apps that can help.

Prevent Viruses

If you use a Mac, anti-virus software is built in. If not, you need some good software to minimise the risk of viruses, trojans, and malware appearing on your hardware. Make sure every computer and device in your office is protected.


How many times have you ignored update notifications on your smartphone and computer? Most of us do. But, updates don’t just fix bugs and add new features. Most contain the latest security patch to protect your computer, device or software. Update as soon as there is one available to protect your equipment and your business.


Your business probably uses social media. It can be a fantastic tool that allows you to communicate with your customers, update them with relevant information, build relationships, grow your business and even make sales. But, it adds further risk. Many of us are guilty of oversharing on social media, giving out our location, personal details, finer details of our business and more. You never know who is reading what online, so don’t overshare, and be careful on any personal accounts too as they won’t be hard to find.

Christine Buske is a former academic who left science at the bench, and now considers herself a woman in tech. She is a frequently invited speaker, and enjoys talking about career transformation (particularly leaving academia for the business world), tech, issues around women in tech, product management, agile, and outreach. She is a proud Canadian resident, and qualifies as a "serial expat".

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