Website “insecurity” can pose a huge threat for business owners. Unfortunately, many companies wait until after security is breached to develop best practices for maintaining website security. As a business owner, it is imperative that you proactively identify possible security threats to your website and address them before compromising sensitive consumer information such as credit card numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, and birthdates. Failure to establish solid security practices can result in the loss of consumers, financial failure, viruses that lower your rank on popular search engines, and lawsuits. It takes only one of those issues to crush your business.
There are five major benefits to maintaining website security:
- Visitors trust companies who enforce strict website security best practices. Nothing repels consumers more than a flashing “not secure” message on a company’s website.
- Statistically, a website is hacked once every 39 seconds. If your site is lacking an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, you can easily obtain one from a Certificate Authority online. An SSL certificate acts as an invisible barrier in preventing hackers from accessing your consumer profiles.
- Security cleanup is far more expensive than developing website security practices. It is well worth your time and money to establish website security in order to avoid costly cleanup after hackers and viruses.
- Google ranking improves and SEO value is boosted when “not secure” issues are addressed.
- Avoid losing consumers by securing your website and experience higher conversion rates and increased revenue.
Your company’s website should be more secure than a bank vault. Failure to address security issues is just as careless as failure to close the vault door and lock up the bank. You are inviting crooks to do their worst.
Establishing solid website security begins with setting up secure passwords containing upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
Using obvious information such as your address, date of birth or anniversary is sloppy and easy for hackers to bypass. Using the same password repeatedly will lead to a chain of corruption. Hackers who are successful at guessing obvious passwords are smart enough to know that the same password was probably used for your mortgage company, credit card logins, online banking, and retirement account. You must establish a different password for each individual account and it cannot be something that is easily guessed. In addition, mark your calendar each month as a reminder to change your passwords.
No matter how complicated the password, hackers will eventually crack it and it is crucial that you change your passwords on a regular basis.
Thoroughly review staff members and third parties who have access to your website. Unfortunately, partnerships are dissolved daily due to disagreements over how to manage the business, finances, and workload. Your partner leaves with all the credentials to fully access the business website and takes off with your soon-to-be ex-spouse who also has full website access. You are now left holding the bag and facing the possibility that you could lose your business entirely. How will you finance your impending divorce? Moral of the story: do not grant access to others unless it is a MUST and only allow them to access the necessary portions of your website. Fifty-six percent of employees present the largest website security threat to companies due to having been granted access privileges beyond what is necessary.
Don’t trust your business developer, your spouse, your manager nor the president of the United States unless you absolutely must. Even then, do not give anyone carte blanche. Full administrative access grants users the power to control (or steal) your business and access sensitive consumer information which can lead to fraud and embezzlement. You are the only one who should retain full administrative control if at all possible. Also, you should review user accounts on a recurring basis and remove stale users.
Consistently backup website data to an off-site platform. Redundancy is a good thing in this scenario as sole reliance upon your website host could result in the inability to restore the website in the event the host has “issues”… Always have a backup for your backup.
Backups are crucial because:
- Firewalls, security practices, and patch management tools don’t always work. When it comes to business websites, no one is immune to the occasional attack. Even worse is the fact that 68% of small business owners don’t have any sort of recovery plan in place in the event of a breach. While many companies rely on the cloud for backups, they are entrusting valuable information to the cloud provider. Consistent backups are the foundation of a solid disaster recovery plan.
- Hackers are constantly evolving in their processes. Whether infecting your website with ransomware or utilizing simple tactics such as supply chain attacks (child’s play), hackers are known for targeting the cloud and on-site information in order to obtain sensitive consumer info. One of the downfalls of digital transformation is that it has increased the frequency of cyberattacks and businesses are experiencing massive influxes of hacker attacks compromising sensitive consumer info and business financials.
- Sixty percent of small businesses whose data is compromised or lost entirely will cease to exist within six months of such an event. If the power goes out in your building and your server completely crashes, all of your valuable data is gone unless you have a backup. Regardless of the scale of your business, anticipate the worst-case scenario and be disciplined with consistent backups.
Nothing undermines a brand like data loss. Consumers won’t trust you if you lose them and your company will establish a reputation of carelessness. In addition, once-eager employees will be less desirous of joining the business.
Schedule regular software updates to take place on a weekly basis. Be sure to take a backup of your website first. After the software is updated, test your website’s load speed and browse a few of the pages to ensure all is loading as it should.
Strong, successful businesses never leave the security of their websites to chance. While all is well with your business and website now, things are subject to change and problems will occur. It only takes a spark to set an entire house ablaze and the risk just isn’t worth it. Best practices for your company’s website security must be established and implemented immediately. If this sounds like more that you would like to deal with we are here to help. Click here to learn more about our WordPress and Joomla Maintenance Programs.