Buying and selling products online has become a common practice in today’s day and age. With the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon, many consumers are starting to prefer the convenience and accessibility of buying things online compared to walking into physical storefronts.
Since buying things online is significantly easier than buying things in-person, you may think that selling things online would be easier than selling things in a physical storefront. While there are definitely fewer costs involved with setting up an online business, it may not be as clear-cut as you may think.
Selling online comes with a lot of vulnerabilities, as does selling in person. While having a physical store might open you up to robberies and theft of products, selling online can entail hackers and other bad actors that are looking to steal private, financial information.
Before you start, make sure that you know how to protect yourself when selling online.
Never give out or publish personal contact information
You should always keep your personal identity and contact information separate from your business. Even if your online business is your life, never put any of your private information on the website.
It is a good idea to have a separate business phone number, email, and address that is distinct from your own. This distances your personal information and life from that of your businesses. If your business information is ever compromised, at least your personal information will be safe.
Set up a firewall and other security (antivirus, anti-spyware)
Firewalls are a tool commonly used by websites to protect their internal networks from external threats. It is always a good practice to install these on all of your business’s servers and devices, including phones. Keep all of your devices up to date with high quality and highly reviewed antivirus and antispyware software. This software might add to your costs but are indispensable in ensuring the integrity and security of your business’ data.
Always update your operating system to the latest version
Every computer system, from Apple to Microsoft, is making constant updates to their operating systems. This is not only to improve user experience and design but also to strengthen their security and reduce vulnerabilities.
You may not think much of these frequent software updates, as they usually do not visibly change much on your computer. However, they have important back end updates that are keeping you and your data safe from hackers.
Have all your company devices routinely update to the latest operating system so that you have the peace of mind knowing that you have the most secure systems possible.
Consider using a trusted third party transaction application
The most vulnerable part of an online business is the transaction process. This is the point where money is being exchanged, financial information is provided by the customers and where hackers and malicious actors are looking to strike.
Unless you have a robust IT department who is in charge of setting up and maintaining your transaction process, it is always a good idea to look at third party services such as PayPal to handle your payments securely.
PayPal not only makes sure the payments on your website are handled securely, it also makes sure the customer’s financial information is protected. If anything, an online business should ensure that their payment systems are secure, safe and reliable.
Always utilise VPN’s, especially on public Wi-Fi networks
If you or your employees work remotely from cafes or other public areas, it is important that they use VPNs (virtual private networks). Most public Wi-Fi networks are unencrypted which makes data being sent or received on your device vulnerable to being sent intercepted and obtained. Using a VPN will make it much harder for your data to be intercepted.
VPNs can be bought and subscribed to. Although adding to another cost of your business, VPNs make it much harder for people to try to intercept your device’s data.
Selling online means that you have to secure your website and devices in every way possible. Many cybersecurity practices are overlooked by new business owners, so make sure to protect yourself when selling online with some of these tips.
Interesting articles related to this theme: