How to Prevent Online Business Disasters

How to Prevent Online Business Disasters

When you’re up at night, you can be worried about all kinds of horrific disasters affecting your online business: floods, fires, theft, computer viruses, you name it. Prevention is always better than cure, so you should take action to prevent problems. But should a problem arise, there are also ways to recover more easily.
insurance
There are plenty of ways to spend money that are more fun than paying insurance premiums. However, it is definitely necessary. And yes, there is one more item to add to the list: Protect your business investment by getting insurance that specifically covers you against hardware damage, theft and data loss.
You can go further and get a policy that covers the cost of data entry or rental of equipment that will be necessary to recover your business information. Here are some specific strategies:
1. Make a list of all your hardware and software and how much each item costs, and store a copy of it in a safe place, such as a fireproof safe or safe deposit box.
2. Take pictures of your computer setup in case you need to file an insurance claim, and put them in the same safe place.
3. Save your electronic files on a CD or DVD and put the disc in a safe storage location, such as a safe box.
Check out the many options available to you to secure your computer’s hardware and software. Your current homeowner or renter’s insurance may offer coverage, but make sure the dollar amount is sufficient for replacement. You may also want to consider coverage for computer hardware and software provided by Safeware, the insurance agency.

Think ahead
The Gartner Group estimates that two out of five major disaster companies go out of business within five years. Even if your company is small, be prepared for problems such as floods, hurricanes, or hurricanes. Recovery efforts may include the following strategies:
1. Backup Power Systems: What would you do if the power went out, and you couldn’t access the web? You can purchase a backup power system for less than $50 at office supply stores or from Amazon.com.
2. Data storage: This is perhaps the most practical and essential disaster recovery step for a small or home business. Back up your files to the “cloud” using services like Carbonite. An article in the IT magazine Computerworld compared five of the most popular systems.
3. Telecommunication: Having an alternative method of communication in the event of a phone system failure ensures that you are always connected. Also set up a voice mailbox so customers and suppliers can leave you messages even if you can’t answer the phone.
Creating a plan is a waste of time if you don’t regularly take the time to update it.

Virus protection
As an online entrepreneur, you download files, receive discs from customers and suppliers, and exchange email with all kinds of people you’ve never met before. Browse safely by installing antivirus software, such as
1. Norton Internet Security from Symantec Corp: This app, which includes antivirus software as well as a firewall and menus for $79.99, automates many security functions and is especially useful for beginners. A standalone version, Norton AntiVirus, is available for $49.99, but the full-featured package, which includes a firewall, is highly recommended.
2. AVG AntiVirus from AVG Technologies: Many users who find Norton Internet Security too intrusive (leaving a lot of files on your PC and consuming a lot of memory) turn to this product, which lists $39.99.
3. Avira Free Antivirus: This is a popular free program.
4. VirusScan from McAfee: This is the main competitor to Norton AntiVirus, which comes bundled with Norton Internet Security.
VirusScan is included in McAfee Internet Security, which includes a firewall and costs $67.99.
Viruses change all the time, and new ones appear regularly. The antivirus you install one day may not be able to deal with viruses that appear after only a few weeks or months. You may want to choose an antivirus that does not charge extra fees for regular updates.

A clear sign that you are trustworthy
Like an office assistant whose work is only visible when he’s not doing a good job, you may be super clean but no one will know unless there’s a problem…or unless you display a “seal of approval” from a reputable online organization. The two most famous seals are TRUSTe and BBBOnline.
The non-profit organization TRUSTe was created to enhance the degree of trust that web surfers have in the Internet. If you make it clear to TRUSTe that you make efforts to keep your visitors’ personal data secure, and if you promise not to share your customers’ data and post a privacy statement on your site, TRUSTe issues you a seal of approval that you can place on your site’s home page.
By itself, the seal does not prevent hackers from breaking into your site and stealing your data. It is still up to you. Having a seal makes visitors feel better about using your services. TRUSTe provides you with a wizard that leads you through the process of creating a privacy statement for your site. The statement tells visitors how to protect their information.

BBBOnline, the web-based arm of Better Business Bureau, has a similar program for commercial websites. The BBBOnline Trust Seal Program has several eligibility requirements, including a physical location in the US or Canada, at least one year’s business history, a satisfactory complaint handling history, membership in the Better Business Bureau, and a commitment to resolving disputes and responding promptly to consumer complaints.