“Unlikely” doesn’t mean “impossible.” It’s unlikely that the flight you’re taking next month will crash or the cruise you’re planning this summer will end in a raft of lifeboats washing up on a deserted tropical island. But neither scenario is impossible.
By the same token, it’s unlikely that your small-scale blogging business will suffer a catastrophic compromise that temporarily cripples its revenue stream and leaves your most sensitive personal or business data vulnerable to theft and misuse. It’s unlikely that you’ll have to put your emergency business continuity plan into action.
But not impossible. Not by a long shot.
Even sole proprietors and micro-business owners need to prepare for the unlikely event that they’re singled out for attack or caught up in a broader compromise. Here’s what you can do today to protect yourself against the unthinkable.
Continuously Back Up Important Files
The most important thing sole proprietors and small business owners can do to reduce downtime and revenue loss following a catastrophic compromise is to fully back up all important files. That includes everything in your website’s backend: plug-ins, drafts, published content, image files, macros, tables, and so on.
Use a combination of external media and secure cloud backup to make a complete, rolling fallback for your blogging operation. Choose a solution that backs up frequently, as often as two to four times per hour.
Use Two-Factor Authentication for All Logins
Don’t let a lost password ruin your week. Besides making unique, difficult-to-guess passwords, the most important step you can take to prevent account compromise is to implement two-factor authentication everywhere that permits it. (And to consider switching out services that don’t yet use two-factor authentication.)
Don’t Store Your Passwords or Other Sensitive Credentials on Your Computer
Don’t store passwords or sensitive personal data on your computer (or in your website’s backend, which is even more vulnerable to compromise). Keep a hard copy of your current passwords in a secure location in your home or office, and take it out only to make changes or jog your memory. This might sound paranoid, but you’ll thank yourself if your system is ever compromised.
Have a Detailed Plan in Place
Set up a detailed business continuity plan that outlines every step of your response and recovery process, beginning from the moment you discover that something’s wrong. Include detailed procedures for notifying clients, vendors, and others with whom you do business.
Bear in mind that some business interruptions occur through no fault of your own: say, a fire or break-in at your server farm. You need to know as soon as possible when such incidents occur so that you lose as little time as possible in recovery.
Execute Dry Runs
What good is a plan that’s not ready for prime time? Run periodic “disaster drills” during which you run through the steps in your recovery plan. Then, debrief, identifying kinks to be worked out (and steps to do so).
Don’t Rely on a Single Server
Even a small-scale blogging business could use a backup server. Opt for a hosting provider with multiple backup locations, if your budget allows.
Get Ready for the Unthinkable Today
The unthinkable is inconceivable — until it happens. Then it’s merely unfortunate.
No matter how unlikely you believe a catastrophic compromise to be, it’s in your best interest to be ready. If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with a cybersecurity or business continuity expert to learn more about cost-effective protection against what may come.
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