No doubt you have read numerous articles warning you to have strong passwords and a different password for every account. For most people this advice is unrealistic since most of us have at least 20+ accounts all requiring a username and password – everything from online banking, social media profiles, online stores to paying for cinema tickets.
I would like to offer a simple approach to managing passwords that appears to work for people who don’t want to be bothered with password managers, encrypted drives containing passwords and hiding passwords deep within their computer folders etc…
Simple Approach to Password Management
The approach takes the path of having 3 levels of passwords:
1) Very sensitive passwords for accounts such as online banking
2) Semi-sensitive passwords for accounts such as social media profiles
3) Non-sensitive passwords for websites that you visit infrequently
Very sensitive passwords
For sensitive accounts such as online banking have very strong passwords and unique for each account. It is ideal to use an online password generator to make a truly random complex password but it will be nearly impossible to remember each one for every sensitive account you have. To make life easy think of a phase or event that is meaningful to you for example “I love Corro on TV at 7pm!” – with that phase replace the text with shorthand and symbols so it looks like “[email protected]!”. You could also associate the business name or service within your phase to help remember the password for example “ANZ is at 23 Allen St, Newtown!” which can be converted to “[email protected],NT!”. These are consider strong passwords because they include numbers, lowercase/uppercase text and symbols.
For semi-sensitive accounts use a password format that you can reuse and can easy change certain characters for example “[email protected]@!” and “[email protected]@!” and “[email protected]@!”. Then every month change the number – for example “[email protected]@!” and “[email protected]@!” and “[email protected]@!”. Of course please do not follow this pattern since its published on a public website – make up your own.
For accounts that are infrequently access I use an online password generator to create a complex and unique password for each account. I know that I cannot remember the password so every time I need to log into the account I just use the systems reset password feature! This means the passwords are unique and complex so if the site gets hacked (and more often its the smaller websites that do and you never hear about it) I don’t have to worry that I reused a password that is used on more sensitive accounts.
Of course having unique and complex password for each account is ideal but with many people having over 20+ separate accounts to deal with you need a simple system that helps you remember passwords – hopefully this approach can help.
How Compliant is your Small Business?
Operating a small business doesn’t mean you can be complacent with how you’re protecting customer data and the prevention of the real threat of credit card theft.
Hacking gangs are alive and well hence the tightening of data protection rules in the western world including the European Union’s GDPR.
So there’s two major compliances to work on immediately if you’ve not done so already. Doing the basics to ensure your business is in compliance with data protection laws including the GDPR even if you’re not in Europe is a must-do and here’s how you can get started if you’ve not done it already.
Every website collecting email addresses and more, need to comply with the requirements for protecting customer data. There’s more that’s needed too see (Website policies) further on in this article.
There is also a pressing concern for all businesses, eCommerce and particularly those in the retail sector to commit to PCI compliance. You might be wondering what it is and is your operation too small to be bothered with it right now.
A really good explanation of what PCI DSS is and why any business transactions using credit cards needs to comply can be found in this article on BusinessBlogs.
Smaller businesses can do a self assessment and why you might sigh with relief, don’t get too comfortable, you’ll still need to know exactly how to do a PCI self assessment and how to get set up so when your business grows it’s got everything in place for external assessments.
PCI and Networks
The real difficulty lies in understanding how sensitive data moves along your network which is a must for assessment. The wireless LANs and other connectivity points like USBs and bluetooth can be penetrated hence they need to be monitored and secure. This is where a PCI compliant specialist comes into their own not only for your self assessment but also when using external PCI auditors for your compliance.
Earlier on we mentioned protection of customer data and laws like GDPR.
Any business with a website that collects customer data can not avoid the basics website features that allow for transparency of how customer data is collected, utilised and shared with privacy and cookies policies.
This really is the norm now and it’s the entry level for all websites so all website developers will implement it, so it’s just the older sites and the Do-it-yourself crowd who need to be aware of the requirements.
Website visitor expectation is they’ll see the pop up that asks for acceptance of re. your website cookies policy and they’ll take the necessary action. Without it, your business is not perceived as being secure and visitors may take no further action i.e. they’ll exit your site.
All websites should also be using the SSL (HTTPS), and be mobile ready. Plus have all the bells and whistles in place to manage customer data collection and management for protection of customer data.
Ignorance is not bliss and it will be hurting your business if your website is not on top of it’s compliance requirements. Get curious, find out what you need to know and when you need to take action to keep the hackers out and the visitors in.
Why Shopping Cart Abandonment?
Shopping cart abandonment is not decreasing. Buyers add stuff to their shopping cart, however exit without finishing the purchase. The term ‘buyer’s remorse‘ needs to coined another way to describe why online shoppers abandon their shopping carts.
Relinquishment is an electronic business term used to portray a condition wherein a visitor on a page leaves that page before completing the pined for movement. Occurrences of betraying, are the place shopping cart abandonment happens the most! The reasons change from site to site and they’re explained well in the infographic created by Fullestop. We’ve added it to this post for you.
Web business destinations attempt to decrease their cart abandonment rate; however it’s a losing battle with a high level of customers still slipping past. Honestly, shopping case surrender rates if all else fails are actually rising. Business Insider reports that $4.6 trillion worth of stock was left in spurned trucks in 2016, up from $4.2 trillion out of 2013.
Reasons behind Shopping Cart Abandonment
For the retail part, these were the most widely recognized explanations behind the surrender:
• 34% were ‘quite recently looking’ i.e. not prepared to purchase.
• 23% had an issue with transportation.
• 18% needed to look at costs.
• 15% chose to purchase in-store.
• 6% relinquished because of an absence of instalment alternatives.
• 4% encountered a specialized issue.
Distinctive edifications have been offered trying to state why buyers leave shopping bushels. Most, by far, of the reasons, take after the ones in this present reality shopping process. The basic enlightenments behind shopping wicker container betraying have been seen as:
Perplexity with astound costs: in the far-fetched event that it’s not clear how to influence a purchase and you to leave your prospects with no other individual, expecting that “they’ll appreciate it”, you’re in for an epic dissatisfaction. Correspondingly, if they are out of the blue given some extra costs that they didn’t expect, you were showing the portal yourself.
Alert or secure site: An alert about the website can without much effort change over into fear. The starting point for a business is website security and assuring customers the website is safe and secure and this includes their shopping cart and when it comes to credit card data, what information is requested from purchasers.
Most electronic business purchasers are careful about revealing their own particular information, especially with respect to MasterCard inspirations driving interest. Purchasers are already nervous and it’s not long before they end up plainly suspicious especially if an overabundance of information is requested from them.
How To Protect Your Business From Cyber Attacks
There is no getting away from the fact that cybercriminals and hackers are everywhere these days. Business owners need to remain vigilant and take precautions if they don’t want to become the victims of crime. The information in this article will educate all readers about the basics of protecting their operations and ensuring information theft doesn’t occur. The last thing any entrepreneur wants is for a hacker to steal their customer payment details because that often results in bad press and a lot of headaches. With that in mind, use the advice below to ensure you leave no stone unturned when it comes to securing your company.
So how do hackers break into my website or computer network?
There are many ways in which hackers might attempt to breach your security tools and gain access to your website or office computer network. However, some methods are more common than others. In recent times, business owners report the following strategies when hacking attacks occur:
- The hacker will upload specialist tools to your website that allow them to create multiple backdoors. That means that if you identify the first vulnerability and fix it, the criminal can still gain access using a variety of different methods.
- Some online hackers will attempt to download all user accounts and then use specialist tools to break through password encryption. Alternatively, those criminals can just steal the contact information like email addresses before selling the data to spamming organisations.
Well, how do I stop that from happening?
Protecting your computer network:
You have lots of options on the table when it comes to protecting a computer network against hacking attacks. In most instances, it makes sense to build a relationship with an IT Support company that can offer assistance if the worst occurs. However, there are lots of preventative measures you can take in advance. Considering that, be sure to read the following information carefully and put the tips into action as soon as possible!
- Invest in digital and physical firewalls – You can get those items online for little money these days. Just be sure to conduct a lot of research and read reviews from other business owners before committing.
- Keep all software updated – Software developers release updated versions of their products all the time to help combat security vulnerabilities. If you don’t have the latest version of the program, you might expose your company to hackers.
- Provide employee security training – It’s vital to offer all employees training on the best practices for maintaining maximum security. For instance, business owners should ensure their workers never connect personal smartphones to the business network. Likewise, the team members should never access their social media accounts in the workplace. However they should follow an IT Security expert and learn from their views and news. That could create security concerns.
- Use strong and random passwords that contain numbers and letters – There are lots of random password tools that anyone can use if they want to ensure hackers can’t guess their way into the network. It’s worth investing in one of those programs as soon as possible.
- Don’t connect unknown devices to your computers – As mentioned a moment ago, connecting smartphones and other media to your computer network could create problems. If hackers already have access to that device, they will have no issue when it comes to penetrating your system.
- Encrypt all sensitive data or store it in the cloud – Cloud storage providers use some of the most advanced encryption tools and strategies possible. So, business owners shouldn’t have to worry too much if they keep their sensitive data secure using one of those services. However, it’s also vital that you encrypt information on your office network too!
- Never use unsecured WiFi networks – If you connect your computers to unsecured public networks, hackers can break into your system in a matter of sections. Indeed, there are low-cost computer programs that even teenagers could use to steal your information if you make that simple error.
Protecting your website:
Business owners also need to follow the correct strategies when it comes to ensuring their websites don’t become vulnerable to hacking attacks. The list of tips below will assist you in making sure your site has the most robust protections possible. Failure to implement the advice from this section will mean you stand a much higher chance of becoming a victim than those who pay attention.
- Keep all software, and website plugins up-to-date – Hackers will look to exploit the vulnerabilities that developers work hard to solve with their software and plug-in updates.
- Use complex passwords – Again, you can find programs that create random passwords without breaking the bank.
- Don’t allow users to upload files – Unless there is no alternative, allowing users to upload files is a recipe for disaster.
- Only use HTTPS to deliver private information (payment details, etc.)
- Use the best website security tools – There are new programs and plug-ins hitting the market every single day. So, business owners just need to keep abreast of the latest advancements and invest at the right time.
- Always use a secure online payment gateway – Consumers expect to see that little padlock in the left-hand cover of the address bar when they enter payment information. Ensuring the page is secure should help to protect against hacking attacks. However, it should also mean you miss out on fewer sales.
Now you know all the basics of protecting your business from cyber attacks; you just need to put that advice into action. There is no time to delay because criminals work around the clock to steal information and profit from their crimes. So, sit down with your most dedicated team members as soon as possible before discussing the matter and designing your strategy. As stated only a moment ago, sometimes company bosses will benefit from the expertise of professionals. With that in might, weigh all the pros and cons and then work out if you have enough money in your budget to pay for assistance. If you don’t, just follow the advice from tips post!
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