Building an online presence is critical for any business that wants to grow and thrive long-term. Fortunately, tech now exists to make that more practical than ever for smaller companies.
But there’s another factor at play wreaking havoc on businesses: hackers. As digital security technology continues to evolve, so do the techniques and strategies of cybercriminals. And cybercrime is a perennial threat for every business — no matter how big or small. An experienced hacker can destroy in moments what your company has spent years building.
So, as you seek to improve your visibility, you must also take cybersecurity seriously and take any steps necessary to protect your business. Here we are with some essential info and advice that will help you prepare for the worst and keep your company flourishing:
So, what exactly is cybersecurity? In the simplest of terms, cybersecurity refers to measures taken to protect your website from cyberattacks and threats. It’s a complex process where specific features and actions are used to shield data from hackers and other cybercriminals. This includes data of both your company and your site users.
By protecting your website, you will be less likely to fall victim to malicious software (malware) that results in unauthorized access and stolen data. Cybersecurity can also strengthen any vulnerable points in your company’s website and protect against DDoS attacks. At best, a DDoS attack will cause your site to load slower than normal. At worst, it will inhibit loading completely and make it impossible to access your site.
Another essential factor to cybersecurity is that it will help prevent your business from being blacklisted on the Web. In short, search engines regularly monitor websites. If a site is found to have malware, that site is sometimes removed from the search rankings. Needless to say, this can have a devastating impact on your online presence.
Your company isn’t the only entity at risk. You also must ensure that visitors to your site are protected from cyberattacks. Enacting cybersecurity processes will help prevent your customers’ personal data (e.g., name, contact information, credit card information, etc.) from being stolen. Furthermore, hackers use other means of stealing visitor data, such as spam, malicious redirects, and session hijacking. Putting security measures in place will reduce the likelihood of such incidents occurring.
Why Now is the Time for You to Act
OK, so you have an idea of what cybersecurity is. But maybe you’re still not convinced it’s an urgent need for your business. But even if you’ve never experienced a cyberattack before, the best time to put security measures in place is now. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is: your website is becoming more and more vulnerable by the day.
Think of investing in cybersecurity as buying insurance. Yes, you’re going to pay a decent amount for it, but the cost of not having security can simply be too high. And if you don’t think you’ll ever be a target, consider these statistics: Digital security breaches have risen 67% from 2014 to 2020, and 43% of victims were small- or medium-sized businesses.
If your company suffers a cyberattack, think about the operational costs that could be involved. A breach could cause you to lose control of your website, and your site could shut down completely. Your site could be blacklisted, all but eliminating your company’s online visibility.
When it comes to recovering from a breach, well, that process introduces an entirely different set of expenses. Not only will you need to hire professionals to perform extensive work, but you will need to purchase some of the most advanced hardware and software available… Not to mention replace any equipment that was compromised during the breach.
Along with a blow to your operations, a digital security breach can significantly harm your company’s reputation. If your customers can’t trust that their sensitive information will be protected on your website, then many of them will likely take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, you can face hefty fines if your business has come under attack and you didn’t take the necessary precautions to protect customer data.
If you determine to beef up your company’s digital security, your first step should be to find reputable professionals to work by your side. You can find a wealth of freelance cybersecurity candidates through online job platforms. By weighing costs, delivery times, and client reviews, you can confidently choose the right professionals for your business.
Give Your Passwords Extra Attention
The passwords your company uses are essential. An overly simple password, or the same password used for multiple access points, leaves the door wide open to hackers. Make every password weird and unique; you want it to be as hard as possible to guess. Use two-factor authentication for every level of access on your site.
Moreover, encrypt all of your passwords and other data, especially if your website requires customers to sign in to an account or provide banking information for purchases. And be sure to change your passwords at least every three months.
Keep Your Website Up to Date
We get it, update notifications are annoying. However, when it comes to your website’s software, it’s critical to keep it up to date. So, when you get that little reminder in the corner of the computer screen, make sure you don’t procrastinate. A hacker’s livelihood revolves around figuring out how to bypass existing security features. If your software doesn’t have the most current features in place, it leaves you vulnerable to attacks.
Along with using automatic updates where applicable, you may need to regularly review and identify certain security components that are outdated. It can even help to create a calendar so that you ensure you are keeping all of your website security features current.
Monitor Your Website
As with keeping track of necessary software updates, regularly monitoring your website for unusual activity is also critical. Use online tools that can detect and alert you of malware and other anomalies. Furthermore, make sure you back up all of your most important data. Incorporating automatic backup and offsite storage are the best ways to ensure you don’t lose data in the event of an attack.
You want to boost your company’s online presence, no doubt. But you don’t want to do it at the expense of digital security. If you haven’t already, start putting cybersecurity measures in place today. So that, you can protect your business and customers from vicious cybercriminals. Remember that the time, energy, and money required to keep your website secure pales in comparison to the potential costs of a security breach.