The Face of Your Business

An Evolving Online Presence

The Face of Your Business

A website’s purpose is no longer an alternative touchpoint for introverts. Consider how often you use the internet. Not just to browse social media or update your Facebook status. Every time you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, trivial or otherwise out comes your device for a quick search. More than that, you use it to make purchases, find locations to order services, schedule meetings, everything. You probably use the internet dozens of times a day that you aren’t even aware of, such as when you send a text, access your GPS, use an app, game or plugin on your device. Use a credit card reader or tableside touchscreen menu, you’re using some form of internet.

On average, we check our phones about 85 times per day or more. Combined with other forms of media access we might spend over 10 hours a day on the internet. Considering that, you must realize that your potential customer – whoever they may be – will have their first meaningful interaction with your company, online. If you aren’t interested in ecommerce, it by no means excludes you from the fact that people will search for you on the web. Even if you only engage in B2B sales, it doesn’t mean that your customers aren’t looking at your social media content or at your website.

Many well established companies have stubbornly avoided the creation of a strong online presence. In recent years this practice has become more and more detrimental. You might not have put any content on the internet, but your business is there. If your website isn’t modern, or worse, it’s not there at all, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. Think about your reaction to a brand or company that you searched for online that didn’t have a website or at least a healthy social media presence. Think about something you’ve been interested in that only had an outdated or clumsy website. If you’ve never been put off by a brand because of its online appearance, you should consider your target audience’s reaction to the same scenarios.

Nothing can damage brand trust, like a data breach.

Protocols, Practices and Insurance

The Face of Your Business

There are three main areas where your security protocols can be enacted: your local system, your server and the connections between your customers and your website.

Your local system includes all of your in house computers, POS systems, registers and any devices that accesses your customer data, web server or related info. Consider using chip readers and the latest POS hardware for any retail transactions. Some of the steps you can take to protect yourself digitally include the most basic in computer security. Maintain up to date virus detection software, a physical firewall is preferred as well but at least a software version should be in use. Use best practice recommendations for password storage and updating. Perform regular security audits to make sure there aren’t new vulnerabilities in your software or hardware. Maintain a relationship with a security professional or developer who can provide emergency assistance to your in house team if needed. Most importantly, encourage your staff to stay up to date on security vulnerabilities and risks and what protocols they should perform in the event of a suspected or confirmed breach.

Your server, usually dispersed on hardware maintained by your hosting company, is where the software and database that makes up your website is kept. Aside from security measures like maintaining all platform updates and patches, you should also keep your SSL certificate up to date and valid. You should monitor or use a service that monitors blacklists to ensure your site isn’t listed there. Such services often include the capability to scan your server for injected SPAM or malware in your Website. One simple test is to perform a Google search for the phrase, “site:www.yourdomain.com” (using your own website, of course). The results will show you all the pages on your site – look through them to make sure none of them are marked as blacklisted or hacked and that there aren’t any you don’t recognize. To reassure your customers, use https on all the pages of any website that performs ecommerce or otherwise collects customer data. For platforms with custom shopping cart solutions, deploy secure cart software. Always test your site and your shopping cart on all major browsers and devices.

Your customer data is the most important information you have. Many ecommerce site owners chose to avoid storing any credit card information at all, leaving that risk solely in the hands of the merchant accounts that are best suited to protect it. If you do store credit card info, make sure it is encrypted and segmented from tracking details about the customers. Also, make sure that any printed pages or phone recordings containing credit card details are secure. As a final measure to protect you and your customers, employ cyber insurance or data breach insurance for your data and your transactions. Keep your insurer up to date with your software, data collection methods and any hardware, to be sure that you are properly covered.

Download our free eSecurity Checklist to help keep your information organized, but use care in where and how you store the file once it is filled out. Do not email documents with passwords in them and consider applying password protection to such files. Our checklist isn’t meant to be a comprehensive security guide, but it should help to give you perspective on the different areas of security you or your developer should be considering.

Rich Harris

Rich Harris

Rich has over 15 years of experience in the graphic design industry, and is an artist, author, analyst and web developer with strong interests in technology and emerging market trends.
Rich Harris

Latest posts by Rich Harris (see all)