Why Security Matters for Your Small Business’ Website
Updated on November 5th, 2020
Why Security Matters
Technology is advancing at a rampant pace, and businesses are taking advantage as they create corporate websites to sell their products or advertise their services. However, while the impact of technology has been overwhelmingly positive, there are concerns, especially when it comes to cybercrime. If a business is either partially or completely online, it can be hacked, so every company needs to be on guard.
This is especially important for small business owners. Many of them may not be overly concerned about security at first, but in reality, they are often more at risk than the big corporations. Let’s look at the common threats and how you can protect your business.
Why You Should Be Concerned
As a smaller fish in the business pond, you may believe that you are not at risk of cybercrime, but the sad fact is that studies show 43% of small businesses are the targets of attack. There are a couple of reasons for this increasing number. One is that many small business owners just do not believe that they could fall victim, so they don’t put any security precautions in place.
The other reason is that hackers go after any piece of data that they can use for malicious harm. All customer information can be used nefariously, from an email address for phishing emails to a social security or credit card number that could be used to open accounts that could put the victim in enormous debt. Hackers will go anywhere to get that data, and that includes your smaller company.
If your website falls victim to a security breach, then your company could be in major financial trouble. Every stolen record could cost you at least $150 each, and with an excessive breach, that could be enough to put you out of business. Then there is the damage to your reputation. Customers have a choice of where to bring their business, and if they find that their money and information is not safe with your company, then they can easily go elsewhere.
Avoid Common Threats
Security is incredibly important to your website because hackers will try many different tactics to infiltrate your business, and if you don’t take the time to protect your assets, the likelihood of their success vastly improves. One of your first steps to avoid these issues is to create a risk assessment that looks at all the potential threats. Then come up with a plan for defending against them or remedying the problem. Have a team in place and assign individuals to be accountable for each step of a recovery plan in the case of an incident.
One of the most common threats that hackers use is the phishing scam. Typically, these start as emails sent by the hackers that look authentic, but instead, include a link or attachment that, when clicked or opened, unleashes a virus onto the system. Once in, hackers can steal your data without you even knowing it. Take the time to educate your staff on the common signs of phishing emails, so they do not unintentionally fall victim. Red flags include:
- Emails that appear to be from a figure of authority but come from a common email platform like Gmail or Yahoo.
- Communications that have many misspellings in the subject or body.
- Emails with a generic opening like “Dear sir” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
If your business happens to operate exclusively online, you can work from anywhere on your personal device, but that perk can also be a vulnerability if you are not careful. When you work from a public place like a coffee shop or library, you must beware of man-in-the-middle attacks, which are fake Wi-Fi networks that look official. However, in reality, they are set up by hackers in the hopes that you will connect so they can steal your data. This type of scam is very common so protect yourself by always asking the business owner or an employee for the correct Wi-Fi network.
Pre-Emptive Security Measures
The potential damage should be enough to convince you to move a portion of your budget towards protecting your website, but how much should you invest? Many experts recommend shifting 7-10% of your expenses to cybersecurity, whether that be hiring a security expert or using it on software and upgrades that will keep your site clear of cybercrime. As a first step, invest in quality antivirus software for all computers and devices and update it regularly to protect against the newest threats.
Next, your website should have an HTTPS connection, which will prevent hackers from gaining access to a customer’s personal information. The “S” at the end of HTTPS stands for security, and to have it, your company must obtain an SSL certificate, which proves to consumers that you take their privacy seriously. Having an HTTPS connection along with a website free of viruses and slow-loading pages is also good for your search engine optimization. Sites like Google often frown upon dangerous websites and are less likely to promote them on the search page, which could result in fewer customers.
Of course, you must also take the time to educate your team on basic security procedures that can make cybercrime much more difficult for hackers. Start with using complicated passwords that include letters, numbers, and special characters, which are changed every 60-90 days. Then you should also have backups of all important information on separate servers, and the data should be encrypted so it cannot be used if stolen.
For many businesses, the company website is the life and blood of the organization, so you need to do your best to protect it. Understand the seriousness of website security now, and you won’t be sorry later.