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Improving the Security of Your Digital Business: The Complete Guide

Digital businesses have the freedom to grow and to make their mark on the global community from day one. They are also far more at risk than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. After all, those that operate in a mall or on a major street will consistently have footfall traffic. If they are smart, they will diversify and bring in revenue online and from their store, but they have a different foundation.

Digital Business


That foundation can continue in the event of a DoS attack. It can heave a business out of the ashes in a data breach. This isn’t to say that a brick-and-mortar store can’t be brought down to its knees with a ransomware attack, but it still exists somewhere in the world after the attack was made.

Digital businesses do not have this luxury. A company that exists solely online can vanish without a trace from a hacking attempt. Not only that, but customers have much higher standards for businesses they deal with online. If a digital company allows a hacker to steal their valuable data, customers tend not to be so forgiving instead of a mom-and-pop shop they love.

It isn’t easy, but it is possible to improve your security. Small and large businesses must start investing in a wide-range, comprehensive approach. Even companies with fewer than 500 employees need to invest in these tactics, so start today and make 2021 the year you finally work to safeguard your digital business:

Understanding Your Weak Points

A great place to start improving your digital business’ security is by understanding where the weaknesses are in the first place.

You and Your Staff

The good news is that to eliminate most threats, you only need to train the human element. Most hacking successes don’t occur cold. They are invited in. This means that an employee clicked on a link they shouldn’t have, or they used the same email and password for every account they have ever owned and had their information stolen from a less secure site and then had that login information used to access yours.

Over 95% of breaches are due to human error, and they rarely happen due to those working in your IT department. It is a mistake to assume that, just because someone isn’t working in your IT or cybersecurity, they should not be trained or brought in on your strategy. You don’t need everyone to have a cybersecurity degree, but having one person with that cybersecurity degree creating training manuals for the rest of your team can help immensely. It will make your professional cybersecurity degree’s job easier, more effective, and substantially reduce risk.


One of the reasons it is so important to train your whole staff, not just invest in a new hire with a cybersecurity degree or sponsor someone to further their credentials, is because of endpoints.

Endpoints can mean many different things. It can be the phones your employees bring into the office. It can be their computer, smartwatch, or any other device connecting to the internet.

These devices are known as endpoints. They are units that connect to your system, either through the Wi-Fi or your online servers and are risks in and of themselves. Employees could log in to a café’s unsecured internet and download a virus. They could click on a link at home and download a virus to their computer.

Normally, you wouldn’t bother with these, but when they bring in these devices or connect to your business, the virus can upload to your system and wreak havoc. By improving endpoint security and training your employees to avoid these risks on their own time, you can reduce the risks associated with your endpoints at the source.

Weak Login Credentials

If your employees use the same login credentials everywhere, then sooner rather than later, their information is going to be hacked. That information then can be used to easily log through their account to access your business that way.

There are several ways to avoid this. One, provide unique and difficult passwords for your employees. These can easily be automatically produced.

The second method uses a two-step verification method, especially for off-site logins. This way, unless a hacker also has access to your employees’ phones, they cannot get in, and you will be notified of the attempt and know to strengthen measures.

A Lack of a Security Structure

A strong security system is a strong, thought-out system. That is the real benefit of having a cybersecurity expert on your hands. Damage can and will be done if an attack happens. Mitigation is your best tool, especially if your business isn’t a direct target. Direct targets require very complex, unique defense tools. They are the businesses that hackers want access to for the data they hold, or because of the financial gain, they can get from you.

That being said, even if you aren’t a direct target, if your business is involved in the government, retail, and technology sectors, know that you are in the most commonly targeted industries, even if they don’t go after you by name.

Cost Vs. Risk

It can seem costly to have a cybersecurity expert and invest so much in preventative measures, but the costs will always be cheaper than the risk in many cases. Small and medium-sized businesses lose an average of $7.68 million per attack. Large, publicly owned enterprises fail around $116 million. The costs of a successful breach aren’t just in the upfront damage but in the hit to your reputation, as customers leave because they no longer trust you can keep them safe.

How to Improve the Security of Your Digital Business

Improving your security will require a multi-pronged approach, ideally led by a cybersecurity expert.

Hire a Cyber Security Expert

The best way to improve your digital business is to hire a cybersecurity expert. You don’t need someone with years of experience unless you are a large corporation or a prime target for hacking (for example, you manage and process sensitive information like patient medical data). In this case, you don’t just need one cybersecurity expert; you need a whole team working alongside your IT department.

For smaller businesses, it is good enough to start with either a new graduate or someone with just a few years of experience. Most hacking breaches are not aggressive. Think of them as land mines spread throughout the internet, waiting for a business to step on them unwittingly. Someone with a cybersecurity degree will have expert knowledge of machine learning, AI, secure software design, networking data mining, penetration, testing, and more. In short, they can use what they have learned from their world-class cybersecurity degree to improve their security measures from the get-go.

You do not have that time if you have been breached, so you must look to outsourcing for damage control. Once the damage has been contained, bring in that cybersecurity degree graduate to boost your business.

What to Look For

Your cybersecurity expert does not need to be an IT expert, but they need to know the basics, perform security checks and improvements, and, more importantly, direct your IT experts on what they need to have done. Being the best at coding and having an eye for cybersecurity protocols and strategies are very different.

A good way to ensure that the candidate you are looking at will be ready to tackle the tasks ahead is by checking their certifications. A cybersecurity degree holder should be prepared and have earned certifications like:

  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CIEH)
  • Certified Network Defender (CIND)
  • CCNP Security

With these certifications, you can be assured that they are ready to improve your business’s cybersecurity.

Your Options

You don’t have to hire someone. You can instead sponsor a loyal employee. You could even take on a cybersecurity degree on your own. As these degrees are 100% online and do not have mandatory login times, you can tackle them even while dealing with everything involved with being a business owner or manager.

The benefits of earning a cybersecurity degree are massive, especially if you don’t own the business you work for. The job market is huge, cybersecurity specialists are in high demand, and their pay is great. You can truly transform your career, whether you leave your current company or use your talents to help progress at your current workplace. If you are not proficient in coding, you can still do this by taking a 6-month graduate program.

Train and Update the Rest of Your Employees

Have you cybersecurity experts trained and created updates on the latest phishing scams (and other cybercrime trends) so that they can protect themselves both at work and home? You could alternatively do this through a third-party business and require your employees to continually update their credentials in this field to work at your company.

Use All Security Features

If security features are available in your business’s systems and tools but not activated, then only you are at fault. Take, for example, cloud computing. The cloud provider takes on a bulk of the security responsibility, but they can only do so much if you don’t do your part and secure your data from your site. What is the easiest and first thing you should do? Create user access and limit data that every employee can access.

Backup Essential Information

Aim to back up essential information offline, ideally in multiple secure locations. You should have your business’s bare-bones structure for your records, especially if you manage your servers and don’t use the cloud to run your business.

Keep System Updated

The reason why apps are updated so regularly is for security purposes. If you have old, unused applications and other tools on your system, you need to uninstall these immediately. Old apps contain many exploited loopholes. As they are no longer updated or have not been updated by you in a long time, they can be easily breached with more direct hacking attempts.

This is also why you must keep all your in-use apps updated and why automated updates should be enabled as standard.

Purge Outdated Information

If you don’t need the information, don’t keep it. Keeping a hoard of personal data and other bits of information (especially about your customers) that does not improve their experience or the quality of service is a risk. Regularly removing old information you don’t need can make your business less of a target.

Have Your Security Expert Audit Regularly

It would help if you had your cybersecurity expert or an outsourced agency regularly audit your overall system to ensure the latest security practices and recommendations are in place. This can be once a year, biannually, or even once a quarter.

Your business is at risk. It will always be at risk if you have data worth stealing and are lucrative to attack. Cyberattacks will only become more bold and efficient in the never-ending war of attack vs. defense. Cybercriminals rarely get caught, meaning you must do all you can to protect your business in 2021 and beyond.

About author

I work for WideInfo and I love writing on my blog every day with huge new information to help my readers. Fashion is my hobby and eating food is my life. Social Media is my blood to connect my family and friends.
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