Think website security for business isn’t important anymore? Think again. According to Statista, there were approximately 15 million data breaches during the third quarter of 2022. That’s an increase of 167 percent over the previous quarter! Unfortunately, those numbers will probably continue to increase during next quarter and beyond. This alone should be alarming enough for businesses of all sizes to place new importance on your website security efforts. Here’s what you need to know about web security and why it matters even more than you realize if you own a small business.
What are the Costs of a Data Breach?
The first thing you need to know is that small businesses face increased risks of cyber attack with nearly 68 percent of small businesses experiencing cyber attacks within the last year. While not all cyber attacks are devastating ransomware attacks that hold your systems hostage until you make the appropriate payment, they all have real-world costs for your business. In addition to monetary damages, data breaches cost businesses in other ways, including the following:
- Reputation damage and repair costs.
- Punitive damages due to legal action related to compromised data.
- Lost productivity due to data breach and the consequences of said breach.
- Lost data and data recovery activities.
- Legal defense costs.
- Loss of proprietary or trademarked information.
- Loss of public trust and confidence.
The sad truth is that many small businesses that experience data breaches are never able to recover after the breach and go out of business within six months of a major cyberattack.
Then there are the dollars and cents of a cyber attack with the average data breach costing businesses $4.4 million in 2022. Most small businesses simply cannot afford the financial fallout of an attack such as this. What that means is that small business owners cannot afford to skimp when it comes to website security and protection for their business interests.
How Can You Protect Your Website, Network, and Business Interests?
Small businesses obviously want to protect their customers from cyber threats that affect their business just as much as they want to protect their own interests from the many cyber threats that exist. The reality is that effective protection of your website and network is a multi-faceted proposition. This is because many moving parts work together within your workplace. That means that there are many opportunities for threats to enter into your networks. These are a few of the vital steps you need to take in order to protect your website, your business, your customers, and your good name.
- Invest in robust website security solutions designed for businesses. Look for options that offer layered protection and that stop threats in the cloud before they have the opportunity to reach endpoints or mobile devices. Also, look for options that protect users on and off the corporate network.
- Educate employees about the importance of cybersecurity and how they can proactively work to prevent them from happening to your business, such as regular security updates, password security, and safe usage of your business networks.
- Purchase firewall security for your business network. If you have employees who work offsite, make sure they are working behind proper firewalls as well, so they do not become vulnerabilities for your network.
- Limit authority for software installation and access to protected information. Employees who do not need this access should not have it. That will simplify the process and greatly reduce vulnerabilities.
- Create a plan for protecting mobile devices that access business networks. Mobile devices with access to confidential information, business networks, and financial information are tempting targets to hackers and thieves and present extreme risks to your business security. Securing these devices with security apps and encrypting the data contained on these devices can go a long way toward reducing these vulnerabilities and improving mobile device and network security.
- Make sure your business website has an SSL certificate. While this is basic website security, it is essential to protect your site from attacks that are commonly directed at small businesses or lesser-known websites.
- Back up data routinely and off-site. Not only will this help to reduce the risks of data loss as the result of cyber attacks but can help to soften the blow any type of ransomware attack may cause. While your computers and network may be compromised and a loss for your business, you can use the saved information to start over and rebuild.
It may sound a bit much to protect your website security and your networks in a world where so many attacks occur daily. However, failing to do so may bring dire consequences for your business, your customers, and your own reputation as a business owner. For this reason, it is more important than ever for business owners of all sized businesses to invest significant time, effort, and energy into protecting their cybersecurity.