Thursday, 14 August 2008 07:23
How to prevent internet threats from threatening your brand.
Your online brand is under threat. But with some simple precautions, you can eliminate 95% of the risk. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from people who want to use your hard-earned brand equity for their own profit – or just want to cause trouble.
Trademark your brand
Trademarked terms are protected under law. The biggest company on the internet, Google, cannot use its ‘Gmail’ brand in the UK because someone else already owns it. If you haven’t already done so, trademark your brand.
Your brand – your domain
Your www. address should ideally be the same as your brand name. If the best domain is already taken you might consider using a different brand online, but this loses the advantage of your existing brand awareness. If you cannot make your brand name your domain, include it within your domain.
Purchase the main relevant domains, such as .com, .co.uk, .eu, .info and .biz, to prevent ‘cybersquatting’
– their use or abuse by someone else. When consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers rebranded themselves Monday and took the domain name introducingmonday.com, they ignored introducingmonday.co.uk. For years, introducingmonday.co.uk displayed a photocopy of a hand performing a rude gesture, and proclaimed ‘We’ve got your name!’
Lock your domain
'Locking' your domain with your domain registrar prevents unauthorised transfer requests. Otherwise, someone else can gain temporary control of your domain by persuading your registrar that you have left the company and they have taken over.
Block the hackers
Being hacked can harm your business and damage your reputation. Most hackers break in for the challenge rather than for malice. But they may deface or replace your home page, or delete files on the site – which could include your latest batch of orders.
Use secure passwords that are not in any dictionary.
Make sure they are hard to guess, and not written where a disgruntled employee could find them. If anyone who knows them leaves, change them.
Use a secure ecommerce package for ordering
This is so credit card details are encrypted. Then if your site does get hacked, at least your customers will still be secure.