Security isn’t usually something you have in mind when you’re launching your affiliate marketing business because you’re itching to get started and jump right into the “meat” of the biz.
But, security does need to be on your list if you see yourself operating for some time.
A flaw in your security could lead to a ton of lost data which will set you back. If security of your list (like their credit cards) is compromised then you can see yourself looking at a PR disaster. Likewise, you should be ready in the event of a natural disaster not just for the business but for the people involved.
The following is going to give you an overview of a few of the main areas to aim a focus when handling your business security – take the time to do it because it’s well worth it.
Develop a Security Policy
The best security is one which each individual of the business has education of what risks are involved with accessing the Web (and the physical anomalies).
There are numeral resources for security policies for business which you can use and adapt to your affiliate marketing business but I’ll give you a very basic run down of one’s which will handle much of the problems:
- Only allow access to files and equipment to those that have permission
- Develop a habit of not accessing websites and files that aren’t necessary for the business
- Never trust someone at the first interaction – research who they are and if they are legitimate
- Set schedules for regular updates to programs and systems to close potential attack points
Your security policy should also include a recovery plan in the event you are attacked or lose large chunks of data.
This includes a process whereas you not only set in motion a plan to deal with a security breach (such as alerting customers and changing account information) but also reassessing your security policy so that it may adapt (and have documented notes) of how to deal with an event if it were to happen again.
Keep Up-to-Date with Antivirus
Antivirus and active monitoring will help you avoid a lot of the costly mistakes when it comes to security flaws in your business.
These programs are by far the easiest to maintain if you’re not lazy and keep clicking the ‘remind me later’ option in the program. All you need to do is let them update when they’re ready and you’ll stay protected from a majority of the common security issues you’ll face when accessing the Web or using files which could contain malicious code.
There are many options for antivirus and most lean toward the paid versions but I’m going to keep these real simple so that there’s no resistance for you having them running (due to costs):
Besides these free options I would also recommend that you look into the available plugins for your website (if running a CMS) for the popular site security downloads.
Conduct Regular Backups
Nothing is worse than losing data and not having backups. There really is no reason not to have regular backups at your business especially since services and equipment is inexpensive and easy to setup.
There are a few different ways you may want to conduct these backups:
- A complete hard drive (and server) backup once a week
- A partial backup (for new files) every few days (2 – 3)
- A “core” backup of all data once a week with daily backups for readily used files
If you can afford regular backups then it’s your best option but even having just a weekly one will save you a massive set back compared to having none.
Special Note: These backups should be off site of your business in the event of a breach or damage from a natural disaster.
A few ways to go about this includes:
- Using external hard drives that you use to clone the main hard drive (see tutorial)
- Using an online backup service (there are many to choose from)
- Using personal online cloud storage (there are a few of these, as well)
I would recommend to developing a habit of doing regular backups using one of the bigger services for the full backups while using personal cloud storage for the day-to-day type items that aren’t as important as, say, business contracts and the like.
Think about the Real-World Events
You’ll never know when real-world anomalies may strike.
These include (but not limited to):
- Sink Holes
- Hurricanes & Tornadoes
The list goes on and on and it’s something you can’t truly handle but there are certainly ways to dissuade and/or cope with these events.
In terms of the man-made “business disasters”, like burglary, it would be recommended that you install some kind of security system which includes multiple cameras (with multiple vantage points), online monitoring, and alerts. If you lump fire into the category, due to human error, then a proper set of fire alarms, extinguishers, and sprinklers (which are regularly examined and checked) will help with these events.
For natural disasters, like Earthquakes and others, it’s important to develop a safety plan for your business to protect the employees (and yourself). You should also place a value on doing regular, off-site backups (as mentioned) in the event your location is completely destroyed. And, as a business owner, you should stay proactive and ensure the safety of all involved by closing shop during big events and keeping in check with everyone while it happens.
It would be a real shame if your business came crashing down because you’re not ready for security disasters. These items also include the real-world anomalies which are more common than you’d expect (which is why you should lump them in).
Policies and antivirus handle much of the problems and backups are inexpensive. Treat your business like your baby and make sure it won’t be harmed. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of money not having to deal with recovery and your mind will be at ease.