To help businesses during this time, here are a few tips from Google to help them reach their customers and maintain continuity.
- Keeping business listing information up-to-date: If your business is affected during this time, you can update your Google My Business profile to provide the most accurate information to your customers. For example, you can change your hours of operation (in case you’re closing early,) add more details to the listing, for eg: provide delivery, or even mark your business as ‘Temporarily closed’ on Google.
- Create a post: Share more detailed and timely updates about what’s going on with your business through Posts. For example, add information about closures or reduced hours, or suggest the purchase of gift cards to support your business. You can continue to use Posts to directly communicate with your customers on a regular basis as your business changes.
- Connect with your customers: Download the Google My Business app and turn on messaging as a way to help your customers reach you. If you aren’t reachable by phone or it’s after your business hours, messaging can help customers get the support they need.
- Safer login with two-step authentication: setting up Two-Step Verification significantly decreases the chance of someone gaining unauthorized access to your account. Our research shows that an SMS code sent to a recovery phone number helped block 96% of bulk phishing attacks and 76% of targeted attacks. Security keys helped block 100% of bulk phishing attacks and 100% of targeted attacks.
- Keep systems up to date: when possible, enable automatic updates to make sure you have the latest security fixes, built-in malware and phishing protection. Auto-update should be enabled for all software that your business uses, as well as for your website’s CMS. If auto-update isn’t available, check regularly for updates. Avoid using applications that do not offer security options (e.g., no update options at all).
- Have a backup for your business site: a backup helps to restore the site and recover original content. Use automated backup when possible, and consider having multiple backups (e.g., one online and one offline)
- Train your employees: you can foster security in your business by training your employees to be vigilant. Offer regular, targeted and comprehensive training and resources; define clear rules and responsibilities for employees (how to install and use software); develop protocols to report security-related incidents and events, such as malware or phishing, and reward employees who report such incidents. It’s important to have guidelines for social media usage and handling of sensitive data (privileged access, restrict access by default, and conduct periodic audits).
- Use of work devices: tell your employees to avoid using work devices for private activities to reduce the risk of phishing and malware. During the current COVID-19 outbreak, people tend to check updates on the spread and might download malicious files infecting their work devices. Workers should use screenlocks, even when at home and especially if they have kids. Remind them also to not share business critical information over unencrypted connections.