Small businesses are particularly at risk from cyberattacks, including phishing, hacking, DoS (Denial of Service), malware, SQL injection and password attacks. Cybercriminals view smaller businesses and sites as easy targets as they tend to lack the security infrastructure of larger companies and sites.
A recent study by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) found that 88 percent of small business owners felt their business was vulnerable to a cyberattack. Many of these attacks happen directly through the website, and it’s how hackers infiltrate the business’s system overall.
Website security is your top priority, and there are many ways you can do it, including a web application firewall. If you’re a small business and you’re not yet convinced you need to have a cybersecurity strategy, here are some interesting arguments that are sure to change your mind. Hence, you make website security the top priority.
Website hacking is on the rise
Web applications are the number one target for exploiting system vulnerabilities.
Small businesses are already targets for hackers, and a lack of attention or knowledge about their CMS’s vulnerability only makes them more at risk.
Because hackers tend to use small business websites to reach critical company and customer data, small businesses need to implement a web application firewall as their first line of protection.
Hacked websites hurt your customers
A website infected with malware doesn’t just have bad consequences for your business; it harms your customers, too.
Infectious software can gather personal information about your customers, from contact information to financial details to medical data, depending on your company.
Not only does this put people in harm’s way, but it also has legal ramifications for your business. New compliance regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) criminalize company behaviors that fail to adequately address security concerns and that expose customer data as a result.
Insecure websites lose web traffic
Driving prospective customers to your website is a fundamental part of your company’s marketing strategy. If your website isn’t secure, however, all those marketing efforts will go to waste.
Poor website security seriously hurts your SEO, which in turn makes it hard for you to attract new customers. Google docks SEO points for low-security websites, marking websites as insecure when they lack SSL certification. In turn, customers are warned–and in many cases, restricted–from entering your website.
A big fear for business websites is the Google blacklist–sites displayed with the warning “This site may harm your computer” in the Google search results. A website can get blacklisted if it contains malware that may harm the user, such as information scraping or phishing schemes. The result, of course, is that nearly all users stay away, resulting in a 95 percent loss in organic traffic for those businesses.
In addition to issuing warnings, Google, in its effort to fight spam, has removed over 80% of hacked sites from search results altogether–which is yet another reason to keep your website secure.
Low security means low credibility
Maintaining a foolproof and robust website security strategy is a core part of maintaining your business’s reputation and credibility.
If your website is hacked, customers will know about it–either because they’ve seen a warning in the Google search results or because they’ve heard news your company’s data is at risk. The results aren’t pretty. Customers will no longer trust you with their personal data, and they’ll quickly abandon your company in favor of a competitor.
If a prospective customer visits your site and gets a security warning (or worse, gets infected themselves), that person will never consider doing business with you again.
Preventative solutions are better than cleanup
Recovering from a website attack is time-consuming and expensive. A recent survey of 2,400 security and IT professionals found that 75% of them did not have a cybersecurity incident response plan for their organization. Additionally, 66% of respondents were not confident their organization could recover from a cyber attack.
Small businesses are not only the most vulnerable targets, but they also have the most difficulty recovering from attacks due to strained financial resources. Cleaning up a hacked site requires hiring a professional to dig deep into the original files and databased to remove malware.
The blow to your company goes beyond paying for the cleanup process itself: your business will also suffer from compromised resources, reallocated working hours, damaged reputation, and loss of customers. Rather than put your small business at risk, you can think of cybersecurity–and website security, in particular–as your business’s life insurance policy.
Using a web application firewall to protect your small business
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to security threats, making them a popular target for hackers. Website security is a critical part of protecting against attacks since hackers often access business data by first infiltrating their website.
To protect your website–and your business–you can use a web application firewall. A WAF is essentially a shield between your website and malicious traffic, and it lets good traffic navigate to your website while keeping out the bad.
To maximize the security of your website, choose a WAF that includes these key features:
Cloud and on-premise security
– Allows for a unified management system with the same security policies for all your applications, both on-premises and in the Cloud
Flexible deployment options
– Can be deployed either in the Cloud or on-premises in your existing hardware or software
Protection against top threats
– Protects against Top 10 and Automated Top 20 threats, including cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and more
Accurate attack detection
– Detects attacks with efficiency and precision while minimizing false positives
– Includes an intuitive analytics dashboard to help you monitor your security status and meet regulatory compliance standards
– Integrates with your SIEM systems so that you can keep your information organized and accessible
While the best WAFs don’t come cheap, they’re a worthwhile investment for your company. As former US government official Richard Clarke once said, “If you spend more on coffee than on IT security, you will be hacked. What’s more, you deserve to be hacked.” He’s right; WAFs may not only be cheaper than your coffee, but they’re also cheaper than cleaning up a disastrous cyber attack and regaining the trust of disappointed customers.
Instead of losing customers, focus on attracting new ones. Instead of losing valuable time and resources, focus on growing your company. By choosing to protect your company before disaster strikes, you can turn your small business into a long-term industry leader.