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Playing it safe in the modern online world

Online security threats for SMEs are never going to disappear completely. In fact, more and more threats are cropping up all the time and smaller companies need to strategise regarding exactly how to deal with them.

Making sure you know what the biggest online threats are (and how they are dealt with) will make sure that you put the correct type of protection in place to protect your customers as much as possible.

A 2013 Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) survey confirmed the growing threat of online security breaches and what they can mean for SMEs. The 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey found that 87% of small businesses in the UK across all sectors experienced a security breach of some kind in the last year.

Even though the majority of these were handled internally, it emphasises the importance of SMEs investing in security software to make sure their customers don’t experience similar problems. Ensuring that your business invests in an e-commerce platform that places a specific focus on securely accepting credit card for example, is a very good idea.

Modern day security threats

It used to be the case that an online threat could be spotted at 100 paces. There would always be something that would expose it. This could have been something as simple as a dodgy domain name or poor website navigation.

Cyber criminals are now a great deal more dangerous because they have become a lot smarter in the techniques they use. Nowadays, more than 60% of malicious sites are just regular websites which have been compromised.*

What is SSL?

A Secure Sockets Layer is a form of web protocol that means a website is sufficiently protected. Always check whether a website has an SSL certificate before you decide to use it. SMEs should make sure they are firmly on top of any new developments in this area, placing the protection of their customers before any other considerations.

Looking for an SSL certificate

There are a number of ways to check whether a website has an SSL certificate. If, for example, a website has a URL which begins with ‘https’ rather than the usual ‘http’, you know that it is secure.

A more common and more obvious way is to look for the padlock symbol at the start of the address bar. If the website you are visiting has one of those then you know it’s secure.

SSL Certificates are the obvious benchmark for reassuring customers over the site they are using, but it isn’t the only way of verifying a website’s security.

There’s also an extended verification SSL certificate, which combats phishing and malware through a more extensive security testing process.

*Statistics taken from Norton Safe Web data

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