As technology advances, so has the number of self-made entrepreneur millionaires. In fact, the NY Post recently reported that the US has more millionaires than Greece has people. In addition, there are said to be 143 tech billionaires around the world, and half of them live in Silicon Valleyalone. Technology has been steadily increasing and continued improvements are allowing businesses to grow globally and come up with creative ways to make a profit.
While innovations have made the online business world more accessible, offering resources and business possibilities not previously available, they have also increased the risk associated with being a publicly known entrepreneur. As entrepreneurs increase their success and financial worth, the risk of financial and even physical harm can also increase.
According to FBI statistics, CEO fraud is now a $12 billion scam. And when private information about these high-profile individuals is exposed online, it carries a high degree of risk for both the individual and their business – not to mention threats against the physical security of the executives and their families.
While wealth and asset possession can make entrepreneurs more vulnerable to risks such as theft, entrepreneurs at all stages are at risk of security breaches and intellectual property theft. And this isn’t just limited to high-profile entrepreneurs. Those who do not publicly share their salaries or company sales, can still be targets in today’s digital world where anything can be researched and discovered.
Let’s looks at a few ways that successful entrepreneurs can protect themselves.
Protect Against Cyber-Attacks
“Digital breaches can cause significant financial damage, which is why protecting against this threat is a necessary step all entrepreneurs and executives should take to protect themselves, their families, and their assets,” says Dan Schoenbaum, RiskIQ president and COO. The company’s Executive Guardian software tracks what potential attackers can find about a company’s executives online and protects executives against cyber attacks.
Leaders within an organization are particularly vulnerable to attack, with C-level executives being 12 times more likely to fall victim to security incidents than last year.
The threat has become significant, for example, Facebook’s board recently approved a $10 million annual allowance for Zuckerberg to pay for personnel, equipment, and services needed to keep his family safe.
Minimize Legal Exposure
Protecting your online business from legal action is an essential part of its overall success. This includes taking the necessary steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and that business is conducted in ways that will minimize exposure to any legal issues.
The Better Business Bureau Standards for Trust can be a good source of knowledge and provides selling and customer service practices that enhance customer trust and confidence in business.
Protect Ideas And Intellectual Property
Most tech businesses are built on intellectual property. And the most valuable parts of a growing tech business are the ideas and innovations behind it, whether that be technological innovation, your brand, or even an advertising slogan.
While physical assets are obviously in need of protection, so are your enterprise’s intangible assets. While physical assets may make up most of your company’s visible value, it’s the intangible assets that allow you to remain competitive and unique.
There are a number of ways to protect your intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Trademarks are most typically used for logos or other types of branding, and copyrights protect original pieces of work (such as a jingle used during an ad). Patents are more complicated and difficult to obtain as they must meet certain government guidelines, but are typically granted for inventions.
For e-commerce businesses specifically, conducting regular IP audits can allow your business to maintain awareness of the IP rights it owns and any related risks and opportunities. Protecting intellectual property is as important and provides as much value as protecting any other asset within a company.
While setting up an online business is getting easier, it is getting more difficult for entrepreneurs to protect themselves and their assets. One data breach or an instance of intellectual property theft can do major damage to a business. But taking precautionary steps can combat this possibility, improving both personal and organizational security for entrepreneurs.
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This Article first appeared in forbes