From Legal Necessities to Personal Protection

Personal Liability?

There is some basic regulation to performing business over the Internet. There are many problems that can occur for which the business owner does not want to assume personal liability. Usually, the worst problem creators are various forms of “hacking”.

http://www.crime-research.org/news/05.05.2004/241/
http://whatismyipaddress.com/hacking

Although the decisions made regarding the legal structure of your business (sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company, Corporation, and so on) offer varying levels of protection against lawsuits, there is still a need to further specify to your clients how your particular business operates and how it protects their sensitive information when on your website or blog pages.

Typically, this is performed with the use of website policies, disclaimers, and disclosures. But these do not protect against programs that sabotage your computer, internet connections, browsers, and surfing activities.

Disclaimers and Disclosures

The Internet provides challenges regarding the business owner’s duty of care to the client as regards many items, such as the protection of information that passes between the two, the verity of the product, expectations about its use, and more.

If you visit any, let alone many, websites you will notice many disclaimers and disclosures regarding the use of the site and its contents. You can find these items, usually, at the bottom of the webpage (in small print).

For more information about how to protect yourself and your business from liability, read the separate posts regarding website policies, disclaimers, disclosures, and the like.

Legal protection is intended to protect you from problems with clients and products but more importantly, it is needed to protect your business from the malicious intentions of hackers and thieves.

Internet Business Challenges

The greatest challenge Internet businesses encounter is related to technology. Finding good service providers, software, and professionals that help you keep your site safe from hackers and other forms of malicious activity is a major chore.

As an Internet Marketer, you have more to protect; and, due to the value of the information, it can cause legal problems if it is accessed by unscrupulous intruders.

Unfortunately, and unknown to you, a hacker can easily break into the email account associated with your website, read your mail, and use the information they gain to spam your subscribers with emails that seemingly come from you – having all of your apparent credentials.

Hackers can also break into your website databases. Once there, they gain access to the private information you collect regarding your customers. This information can include credit card information, purchase details, and other types of personal customer information, such as names, billing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and so on.

If you are managing an affiliate program or some similar activity that hires people to work for you, then you will be collecting their social security numbers which is also information necessary to protect.

You need to be able to protect the customer information provided to you even when using payment processors that encrypt the purchasing sources.

This is also a difficult problem for many businesses and government agencies. (Even banks have this problem!)

Protection is More Than a Policy

Internet Marketers need more protection than that required by the average internet connected computer user. This is because the Internet Marketer and business cannot remain anonymous. Your business will become very public, and should, as you become more and more successful. Furthermore, as you perform email marketing, the CAN-SPAM ACT requires that your business address is included in every email you send.

Caution is also required when using instant messaging systems as the messages can be intercepted.

How to Protect Your Internet Business

The first protection needed is a good anti-virus program, backup software and procedures, and related methods to keep your website business from developing corrupted files, from disappearing entirely, and from destroying your personal, local computer. The same is true for learning to develop and protect your passwords for various accounts and related website uses.

Your anti-virus system needs to stay updated and continually scanning. You should also use a firewall (usually configured by the antivirus software) and configure the setting to provide utmost protection. Your antivirus software should include spyware and malicious software removal options – or – get those via registry protection services.

You need to protect yourself, and your business, from identity theft. Use spyware protection to prevent malicious software from stealing valuable information from your computer system. This, too, needs to be current and constantly running.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/pc-security/spyware-whatis.aspx

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/S/spyware.html

https://ist.mit.edu/security/malware

http://www.avg.com/us-en/what-is-adware

http://spamlaws.com/

Develop Strong Passwords

Your actual computer needs strong password protection – both to turn it on – and – to log onto your operating system and websites. Keep your operating system updated – automatically – as this protects against problems that hackers use to gain access to your stored information. Constant updating helps prevent these types of security issue problems.

Other Security Measures

Another place to develop your protection methods is with your domain registrar and hosting server. Both of these places offer various types of protection regarding your own privacy, the privacy of others, the ability to protect your website and its ability to function properly. The SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is another method to provide more safety to your site’s visitors and to protect the exchange of private information. To learn more, visit:

http://www.networksolutions.com/education/what-is-an-ssl-certificate/

https://www.networksolutions.com/security-suite/index.jsp

https://www.networksolutions.com/security-suite/compare.jsp

https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-faq.html

https://www.sitelock.com/

Protection Against Lawsuits

Protection becomes more than a matter of courtesy to customers; it also becomes protection from law suits against the Internet Marketer and business.

You need to show that you have performed reasonably as regards providing protection against misuse of information provided to you.

In effect, you owe a duty of care to your customers and clients. When performing such duty, whenever possible, you also request that the client or customer will agree to hold you harmless in the event of undesired results of your transactions.