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Riskope thanks Paige Calahan for this contribution
It is amazing to see that so many private users, small business, but sometimes even sizeable companies are far behind in basic mitigation of cyber-risks. As a business owner, you’ve put in a considerable amount of proverbial blood, sweat and tears to launch your operations. Now that your business is up and running and doing well, the last thing you want is for some sort of privacy leak or other online issue to destroy what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. A rational risk assessment should be your first endeavor toward deciding what are the most critical exposures and select appropriate mitigations. However, we felt it would be nice to show some examples of possible mitigative actions, tools and techniques.
Get anti-virus software
As Forbes notes, cyber attacks on businesses typically involve some type of malware. To help safeguard your company, invest in high quality antivirus software and make sure it’s up to date and running at all times. When you get an alert that an update is available to the antivirus program, be sure to use this version as it will typically fix any previous potential problems. Also, to be sure you don’t fall victim to any malware issues when you are conducting business-related work on your smartphone or tablet, make sure you have current versions of browsers, apps and OS on your mobile devices.
One of the best ways to keep tabs on what others are saying about you is to sign up for a reputation alert service. Reputation Alerts performs thorough searches of the Internet to uncover any and all information about people. This includes any news articles that might feature your name, your business, social networking profiles, and how you might be listed in a people search database. By being aware of how you are being mentioned on the Internet, it can help you stay on top of any issues before they happen. If you discover something that is untrue or exposes your privacy or that of your company, the service can also help remove it from the Internet.
As GoDaddy notes, you need the structure of your company itself to remain as private and confidential as possible. One way to prevent private information from becoming public knowledge is to incorporate your business. When you incorporate, you will make your company a legal entity, which in effect separates you from the business. Also, in the case where your business is not performing as well as you had hoped, your own personal assets like your home will not be in a hazardous position. Canadian businesses may either incorporate at the federal or provincial level.
In order to help keep your private information as safe and secure as possible, consider signing up with an identity theft and fraud protection service like LifeLock. Through its use of Internet monitoring and threat detection and credit alerts, the company will keep tabs on your identity and let you know if a hacker is busy trying to use your good name for some nefarious scheme.
Consider filing for a trademark
In order to protect the brand you’ve worked (or are working) so hard to establish, consider filing for a trademark. This will prevent anyone else from using your design, logo or name in any way. As a bonus, it will also ensure that your clients will be able to find your company and not a bunch of copy cats when they are searching the Internet. It will also separate your terrific company from one that has a similar name but a less-than-stellar reputation. To apply for a trademark, you should work with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.