You have started a small business and worked day in and day out to get your small business off the ground. Everything was going according to the plan but suddenly you realize that your website is hacked and is inaccessible. On investigation, you realize that someone tried to break into your database and stole your business data and succeeded. Just like every other small business, cybersecurity was never your first priority. You are one of those small business owners who think that small businesses are immune to these cybersecurity attacks and paid a hefty price for it.
Most small and medium size businesses believe that cyber attackers target large scale enterprises hence they are safe. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation report, 43% of all data breaches target small businesses. What’s even worse is the fact that most small and mid-size businesses lack skills and funds to deal with repercussions of cybersecurity attacks.
With a widening talent gap in the cybersecurity industry and shrinking cybersecurity budgets, how can they keep their website safe in such a situation? That is the question which is bothering most small and mid-size businesses and that is the question we will answer in this article.
In this article, you will learn about seven ways small businesses can use to secure their websites.
Evaluate the Risk
The first thing you need to do is to evaluate the risk posture. Keep an eye on the plugins and programs your website needs to function properly. Which content management system is your website using? Do accept payments through your website? What type of sensitive user data does your website store? Answering these questions will help you assess your security needs. Once you have identified your security needs, you can easily analyze your risk posture too.
One of the biggest misconceptions most small and mid-size business owners have is that getting SSL certificates for their website will make it fully secure. Remember, SSL certificate is only a cog in your cybersecurity wheel and solely relying on it is wrong. Yes, it encrypts data sent and received from your website, which prevents hackers from stealing it during transit. Even search engines like Google consider SSL as an important ranking factor and can downgrade your website if it does not have it so getting an SSL certificate is important, but it is not the solution to all your cybersecurity woes.
Web Application Firewall and Intrusion Detection System
Two of the common characteristics of secure websites are that they have web application firewall and intrusion detection system. Web application firewall is used to block malicious traffic from entering your network and also act as a load balancer. What makes these web application firewall specials is they come with customizable rules so you can easily control which traffic to allow and which ones to block.
An intrusion detection system is used to analyze any suspicious activities or malicious code and inform you about it. This will allow you to block any malicious act from entering your network. This prevents hackers from using these malicious codes to exploit vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity infrastructure.
Two Factor Authentication
Implementing two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security and makes it difficult for hackers to get access to your accounts. Yes, it might make the login process more cumbersome for your employees as they have to go through a two-step verification process when they log in, but it is a small price to pay for better security. Hackers can easily guess their passwords because most people don’t use password best practices when setting passwords. Instead of relying solely on passwords, you should implement multi-factor authentication or passwordless authentication methods.
Business travel is an integral part of business these days. Let’s say, you are on a business trip and must update your website or perform a financial transaction. How can you do that without compromising your privacy? By using a virtual private network. A VPN can also come in handy when you are using public Wi-Fi at airports, coffee shops and hotel rooms. This will change your IP address which makes it difficult for hackers and agencies to track you, hence, keep your browsing sessions private.
Scanning and Patching Capabilities
It is also important for small and mid-size businesses to acquire capabilities to scan, detect and remove malware from your website. Install patches as soon as it is made available and also update all the plugins that are used to run your website. Older versions of plugins contain security vulnerabilities that can easily be exploited by cyber attackers. Don’t forget to scan your databases for malware infections as hackers can also target your best dedicated server and database where all the data is stored.
Backup and Recovery
Last but certainly not the least is backup and recovery. Take a backup of your website and store it in another location so if your website is hit by a ransomware attack, you can easily recover it from that location. On the contrary, if you don’t have a backup of your website and your website comes under a ransomware attack, you have no choice but to pay the ransom to the cyber criminals. With a backup at your disposal, you can easily restore your website quickly and minimize the downtime and impact on your business.
Let’s sum it all up. SMBs need to stop thinking that they are safe because of the size of their business. Secondly, they should implement multi-factor authentication, intrusion detection systems, web application firewall and get SSL certificates for foolproof security. Always use a VPN when you are connected to public Wi-Fi networks on business trips. Have a backup and recovery system in place so you can restore your website even if your website comes under a cybersecurity attack.
How do you keep your small business website secure from cyberattack? Let us know in the comments section below.