Being secure online is at the forefront of your customers’ minds and should be on yours too. Website security is an important step to keeping your website running and safe from malicious attacks. Without a proactive security strategy, a compromised website can damage your company’s reputation as well as expose your customers to additional risk.
Is it a hack or data breach?
First, let’s talk about what a hack and data breach is. They’re commonly used interchangeably but there is a difference. A hack is an intentional attack to gain unauthorized access to a system or network. A hack can be as simple as taking over someone’s social media account or as complex as the Equifax incident.
Data breaches happen when protected information is exposed or accessed without authorization. Breaches usually happen because of negligence or human error that results in a security vulnerability. Because ‘breach’ is used as a catch-all term, it’s possible to experience a hack that doesn’t result in a data breach and vice versa.
Now that we’ve covered the difference between a hack and a data breach, let’s discuss why website security is essential to your business and should be your top priority.
Protects your customers
Customers are increasingly relying on online sources for services and products, often providing vital information like names, passwords, home address, credit card information, social security numbers, and birth dates. Because of that, hackers are constantly on the search for websites that can be compromised. While many hackers typically go after private data, they can also infect your website with malware that is passed onto your customers. This can infect your users with viruses, redirect them to scam websites, and more. Properly securing your website and encrypting personal information will go a long way to safeguarding your customers’ information.
Secures your reputation
Reputation is paramount, and securing your website protects the longevity of your business. News of a data breach can hinder or slow growth. There is a chance that some visitors may not even make it to your website, since many browsers warn visitors before they enter a potentially infected website. This warning is usually enough to keep the customer from returning. Even worse, if a customer contracts a virus or malware after visiting your website, they definitely won’t be back. Taking steps to protect your website and customers helps you to be a trusted name in the industry.
It’s essential for SEO
Google quarantines thousands of suspicious websites every day and marks them with a warning in the search results that they’re not safe to visit. When this happens, search engines will remove a website from their list, causing it to potentially lose all of their organic traffic. While it’s possible to recover from being blacklisted, it is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.
How to protect your website
Being proactive about website security will go a long way in keeping your website running. Here are a few things you can do to keep your website safe:
Keep software up to date: Staying current on your website software and plugins is a vital step to securing. Hackers are quick to identify and take advantage of vulnerabilities in outdated software.
Use secure passwords: Use a complex password, preferably one with multiple random letters and special characters. This makes it difficult to be guessed or decoded with a brute-force program. It can be difficult remembering passwords, so use a password-management app to save them.
Run regular security checks: Use a monitoring service to regularly scan your website, especially after any change or additions to your website, and address any identified vulnerabilities quickly.
Back up regularly: The risk of a data breach is never zero, even with the most stringent security measures. If your website comes under attack, your best way to recover is to have a recent backup of your website.
Train employees: Make sure employees are properly trained on how to create secure passwords and protect themselves while online.
No company, big or small, is immune from cyber-attacks. Investing in website security will save you from the expensive task of clean up following an attack and the hit your professional reputation may take.
Thankfully you don’t have to do this alone! We develop a comprehensive website security strategy for each of our clients while developing their new websites. If you have questions or concerns about website security, give us a call.