Having a website is basically an essential requirement for businesses nowadays, whether they offer online shopping and services, or just try to get people to come to their physical location. Unfortunately, there have been a number of high-profile hacking cases where website users have had their information stolen, and many company’s have found their customers have fallen foul of scams that have specifically targeted them. So, how can modern businesses protect their customers and website users?
1. Take security seriously
It’s important to keep your website up to date and secure from hackers. If hackers steal customer names and email addresses, they can be used in phishing scams, where fake emails are sent out purporting to be from your company. Because they’re previous customers of your company, people who receive these emails are more likely to fall for them and may give out further details such as their password or credit card information. This can mean terrible PR for your company and many customer complaints.
If you’re taking any personal information, you should switch to HTTPS, which stops hackers from ‘listening in’ to data that’s being sent to your website. Any data you already have should also be secured; in many high-profile hacks, things like passwords were stored in plain text meant there was nothing to stop them being stolen.
2. Use customer’s first names in emails
Although phishing emails have become more sophisticated, there are often things that make people realise they’re dealing with a scammer. Generic greetings such as ‘dear customer’ are often used, so if you use a customer’s first name in official email, it’ll make it easier to differentiate between scams. You may want to put together guidelines for staff using Inpulse for change management, which allows you to ensure all communications are kept in the correct style.
3. Check your own website for malware
While some browsers automatically detect websites with malware, older, out of date browsers won’t always pick up if your website has been infected. There are a number of online tools for malware scanning, which can help you pick up on anything lurking on your site, but you should also ensure IT security professionals regularly check your site and that any strange behaviour is noted.
4. Keep in touch with customers
If someone logs into their account to change their password, address or other information, then it’s important to send a notification email that this has been done. This will alert customers if someone has managed to access their account, so they can let you know it has been compromised.
You should ensure that it’s easy for customers to contact you with security concerns. Have a dedicated email address for those who are worried about their accounts, so you can respond to concerns quickly. This will help keep them separate from general customer service enquiries.
It’s important for companies to keep customers safe from scams, as they can harm their reputations and make customers unlikely to use them again. By taking a few simple measures, you can protect your website from some of the more common issues in cybersecurity, but make sure you also keep up to date with news in the industry too.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.