Home Business Black Friday: How small businesses can stay safe on public WiFi

Black Friday: How small businesses can stay safe on public WiFi

Black Friday: How small businesses can stay safe on public WiFi

Local entrepreneurs gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday need to consider the impact of load shedding on their e-commerce operations.

When the lights go out, many will seek out always-on public WiFi to stay connected – but managing data on an unsecured network can put small businesses in a vulnerable position.

“SMBs often don’t have the resources that major corporates do, which means they must be selective in how they choose to protect their business – particularly when sales accelerate over the Black Friday period. Investing in website security – including malware detection and removal, as well as an SSL certificate – is a cost-effective way to protect your data. Entrepreneurs need to prepare for the risks associated with running their business outside the office – especially as we enter the festive period,” says head of local web hosting company, 1-grid.com, Thomas Vollrath.

Public WiFi networks are encryption-free, making them more susceptible to online attacks.

Hackers can gain access to every piece of information sent from a device connected to a public network.

During Black Friday, this can range from online wish list items, to banking details.

Hackers usually look for easy targets with minimal protection. SSL certificates establish encrypted links between a website and the web browser to ensure all data remains private – even from hackers.

This is critical for those accessing the back end of their website or managing ecommerce transactions.

“A cybersecurity attack can put business data, including sensitive customer information, at high risk, particularly when people are making more online transactions to take advantage of good deals. Even if addressed quickly, it’s very difficult to regain the trust of clients. This can also result in legal ramifications, when it comes to POPI and consumer safety. If you need to use a public network, install a VPN, as this creates an encrypted connection between you and the internet,” says Vollrath.

Another potential risk of unexpected or sudden power outages, is the loss of data.

People spend days, if not weeks, preparing for Black Friday – they won’t appreciate getting ready to pay for their curated cart, only to find it empty.

This can be prevented by enabling regular and automatic website backups. This makes it easier to get up and running again after a cyberattack, as a business will not have to start from zero.

Webhosting companies offer different backup options – such as daily, weekly, or monthly backups – but this is not always included in a basic package. It is recommended that businesses confirm their backup schedule with their webhost before Black Friday deals are in full force.

“Safeguarding your website is important, but time-consuming. Figuring everything out alone, on top of trying to take full advantage of Black Friday sales, can result in unwanted gaps in your online armour. Finding a webhost that has multiple website security packages, simplifies the process, and allows you to choose the one best suited to your business needs,” says Vollrath.

With a focus on small-to-medium-sized businesses in South Africa, 1.grid.com is the most extensive business-in-a-box partner in South Africa.

Servicing 35 000 customers across the country, including loot.co.za and Kauai, 1-grid.com provides SMBs with everything they need to start their business and grow it online – from company and domain registrations, web and email hosting, and web security packages, to drag-and-drop DIY website builders.

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