Is Your Website Protected?
It’s fairly common for businesses to employ an external IT service provider to manage, monitor and protect their physical devices from threats that could compromise their business or customer data.
In some cases that is where the protection stops and the business’s own website is left to fend for itself.
Websites can be hacked…often
“On average, around 30,000 websites are hacked every day globally out of which 43% are targeted at small businesses” – Astra Security (2023).
Unfortunately, a compromised business website (even if it’s purely a website for marketing) can have a severe impact on the business’s reputation and its ability to continue conducting day-to-day business activities.
The exciting thing is, website security and maintenance plans are actually very affordable with many protection plans requiring an investment of $720 – $1200/year for small businesses.
Businesses with limited resources and security expertise are more susceptible to these attacks, making it crucial for them to prioritise regular website maintenance and security.
Talk to us about how you can safeguard your sensitive information and preserve your business’s reputation.
What are the ‘real’ costs of a website hack?
Disruption of everyday business
A hacked website can interrupt your ability to conduct everyday business activities that we all take for granted.
A compromised website can quickly lead to your domain name being blacklisted across the internet. This will disrupt your ability to send emails to your customers because they will be flagged as spam by just about every reputable email system on the Internet.
Lost leads and lost opportunity cost
Once a hacked website has been detected by search engines like Google (usually within 48 hours), the search engine will start warning users that your website has been hacked and is unsafe.
Any users who use the Google Chrome internet browser that try to visit your website will also be met with a warning that your website is unsafe and they should go somewhere else.
This little warning message alone is damaging to your reputation and it also pushes potential new customers toward your competitors.
Broken Customer Trust
When it comes to doing business in Queensland, trust between the customer and the business is paramount.
Customers expect their personal information to be handled securely, and any breach of trust can have severe repercussions on a business’s reputation. Negative publicity resulting from a security breach can lead to customer attrition and a decline in revenue.
Damaged Business Reputation
Word-of-mouth travels fast, whether it’s online or in everyday life.
A dissatisfied customer is more likely to share their negative experience with friends, on social media platforms or on review platforms such as Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp or ProductReview.
The last thing you need is a customer visiting your website and being met with the dreaded security alert that your website is blocked, marked as unsafe or found to be conducting malicious activity.
Investing in the appropriate website maintenance security and IT security measures helps to maintain customer trust and protect the reputation of your small business.
Depending on the role your website plays in your business, a security breach can result in significant financial losses.
The obvious one is that your website and emails are out of commission which restricts your communications and negatively affects the day-to-day runnings of the business.
There are also costs associated with lost opportunities as well as the cost to investigate and repair the security breach.
Businesses may also face legal liabilities, regulatory fines, and potential lawsuits from affected customers.
The impact of such financial setbacks can be devastating, especially for small enterprises operating on tight budgets.
Furthermore, Australia’s data protection laws, such as the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme, impose legal obligations on businesses to notify affected individuals and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) in the event of a data breach.
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in additional penalties and immense reputational damage to a brand.
Best Practices for Ensuring Website Security for your Business
To protect their websites and mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats, small Australian businesses should adhere to the following best practices:
1. Implement SSL Encryption on your Website
Implementing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is a fundamental step in securing websites and it also allows your site to be compliant with Google’s security requirements.
SSL encryption (the little green padlock) makes it all but impossible for hackers to intercept and decipher sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details being entered on your website.
Talk to us to ensure this is set up correctly for your site.
2. Keep Website Software Up-to-Date
Regularly updating website core software, extra plugin functionality, maintaining old code and keeping web hosting software/settings updated is vital.
A website security and maintenance plan is an easy way for small business owners to feel confident their website is protected.
3. Using Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
Enforcing strong password policies is crucial for preventing unauthorised access to websites, domain management accounts, web hosting accounts, FTP accounts and email accounts.
Additionally, implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide a secondary verification code, typically sent to their mobile device, in addition to their password.
This significantly reduces the risk of unauthorised access, even if passwords are compromised.
4. Regular Backups
Regular backups, preferably stored in off-site locations or cloud storage, protect businesses from data loss caused by hardware failures, malware infections, or other unforeseen circumstances.
Website backups are typically included as part of any good Website Management/Maintenance Service.
5. Disaster Recovery Plan
Having a robust disaster recovery plan is essential for small QLD businesses to protect their business systems, business data and customer data.
This plan should outline the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach or other catastrophic events, ensuring a swift response to minimise the impact on the business and its customers.
We can get this organised for you.
6 . Employ Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
Web Application Firewalls (WAF) serve as a barrier between a website and potential attackers, filtering out malicious traffic and protecting against common cyber threats such as Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks and SQL injection. WAFs can identify and block suspicious activities, ensuring that only legitimate traffic reaches the website.
Speak to us about implementing a Web Application Firewall.
6. Educate Employees and Users
Human error remains one of the leading causes of security breaches. Therefore, it’s important for small business owners, management staff and employees to be educated about safe IT security practices.
This includes raising awareness about phishing attacks, password hygiene, and the importance of not sharing sensitive information through unsecured channels.
Talk to us about how to implement safe and effective IT policies within your business.
Need Advice? Contact Us
SunTek Computers and Michael Sherry Web Design & Digital Marketing have teamed up to provide Website, Web Hosting, Email and Endpoint (computer) security services by combining our joint expertise across the cyber-security landscape.
Give Pete Herbert a call on 0493 599 888 or Michael Sherry can be contacted on 0431 739 060.