1. Secure your wireless network, devices, and servers everywhere you work.
If you run your business from home or remotely, it’s important to protect your technology. This includes your personal and professional computers, smartphones, tablets, artificial intelligence (AI) bots, servers, and printers. (Yes, printers. Just read this if you don’t believe us.) Don’t forget to tighten the security on your Wi-Fi networks, either. Drive-by wireless attacks are a real thing.
It’s also better to use pass phrases versus passwords. If that sounds too complicated, just make sure you don’t oversimplify and use your birthday or the word “password.” And if you are going to use your cats’ names (we’ve been there), at least capitalize a letter, use a special character, and add a number somewhere in the (meow) mix.
Additionally, we know you are using a cycle of three different passwords for everything right now. Don’t try to deny it – we know. Do yourself a favor and try shaking up your passwords like a bag of cat treats to reduce your chances of a data breach. And try to avoid relying on your web browser to store all your passwords for you. Convenient? Yes. But if just one feisty hacker breaks into that hub, they will have your confidential Etsy account login…and free reign to roam around your house. Quite literally. How many cameras do you have throughout your house right now? I know at least one…it’s probably staring you in the eye. (Close that laptop camera shutter.)
Just as importantly, they will have total access to everything in your life, including your playlists, bank accounts, social media, and (you guessed it) business information. That means they will have the power to wreak havoc in the homes of anyone and everyone on your contact list: customers, prospective customers, suppliers, partners and friends. You do not want to have to claw your way back into their lives after that. So, keep passwords stored in a trusted, secure software app or offline in a very safe location. It’s also a wise idea to use a Wi-Fi router that has strong security and firewall capabilities. Once combined with a complex private network password, it will start to become safer for you to perform your at-home business functions.
Another key line of defense to put in motion for your business endeavors is multifactor authentication. It’s basically like adding a chain lock to your already locked door. You enter your login and password as normal, but before getting full access, the system will prompt you to provide a second factor of identity authentication. This could come in the form of a mobile text or phone call, or even a face or fingerprint scan depending on your devices’ capabilities. Just don’t stop there.
Multifactor authentication is also a smart option to turn on for any cloud-based programs or services, as they are exposed to the world, giving the bad guys even more bandwidth to access private information that others have entrusted to you. Even if you’re just selling jam at the farmer’s market on the weekends using a Square or other mobile payment solution, you must go above and beyond (meaning all the way to the cloud) to keep your business securely grounded. Two-factor authentication can help secure customer credit card information, which is a pretty crucial aspect of becoming a trusted seller. We know a second step of verification might seem like an annoying extra element every time you need to wake your mobile device from sleep mode on a busy Saturday. But you can rest assured knowing you’ve made an extremely smart choice by integrating it into your systems.
*Bonus Tip: Cybercrimes can start with a stranger’s innocent-looking glance at your device screen when you’re taking payment from a customer. Don’t let anyone see you put in passwords, credit card info, or even someone’s personal contact info. And put your device to sleep as quickly as you can after each transaction. It doesn’t take long for a lookey-loo to take a quick pic of your screen.