As part of its Do More Online campaign for UK businesses, the government has revisited and refreshed its rudimentary guidelines for staying safe online.
Having entered into a campaign with the intention of getting as many businesses as possible online, it’s of course, been necessary to offer guidance on all key areas of web operation. From web design, to web marketing, and of course how to succeed online, all of the above and more are underpinned by the overwhelming importance of online security.
So given the way in which the guidelines are aimed generally at web business newcomers, what kinds of boxes has the government set out to tick?
Well, first of all it’s unsurprising to see that password creation has been given a fair bit of focus, not least because of the recent wave of high-profile hacks and data thefts. Along with advising web users to stay away from standards like pet names, dates of birth and other obvious choices, the guidelines single out good practices like choosing three-word passwords, adding special characters into the mix and using a non-standard mix of upper- and lower-case letters.
Perhaps the biggest threat to any online business these days is that of identity theft – a term that refers to criminal parties getting hold of the personal data of others to be used for illicit purposes. If any other person or group thereof is able to steal or access your personal data, there’s essentially nothing to stop them from pretending they are in fact you. As such, anything they choose to do in your name will bring consequences your way – assuming, of course, they don’t just dive in and wipe out your website, your company accounts and every trace you ever existed. Understandably therefore, the government is paying key focus to identity theft avoidance in its new guidelines.
Of course, financial protection matters enormously for those looking to get into web business and cannot be taken for granted. Web banking is generally well-protected and covered by insurance policies, but the threat of identity theft can, in the worst case scenario, leave your accounts and finances wide open to manipulation. There’s an array of good and bad-practice guidelines to take in, covering everything from how to avoid phishing emails to where, when, and how you should access your accounts online.
Can high level web security ever be simple? Does the average web business stand any real chance of fending off attacks? Well, technically speaking the answer is yes on both accounts. It’s a little like thinking of a standard home or business security system – you don’t have to know how to build a CCTV system from scratch, you just have to know the importance of buying one and using it.
The same pro-activity is required to protect a web business as while you may not understand the technical side of things, looking after your own interests isn’t difficult. You’d be surprised how many of the government’s new guidelines are in fact little more than common sense – check them out and see for yourself.