As a small business owner, your resources should be spent on building revenue – and protecting it.
Whether your company provides professional services or sells products online, your small business website represents your brand, provides valuable contact and service information and in most cases, services transactions for your customers. Most likely, you have limited resources to provide cyber defense, which can place your systems and website in jeopardy. If website recovery and other cyber defense solutions are not a top priority you risk your systems being hacked, leading to data loss and even your website going down.
Your small business website is a primary target for cyberattacks and security breaches, as 1 in 3 small businesses don’t have the tools in place to protect themselves. That means, no firewalls, antivirus software, spam filters or data-encryption. To paint a picture of the potential damage, let’s examine how both malicious, external attacks and internal accidental errors impact small business websites and systems.
Cyber Criminals Are Increasingly Targeting Small Businesses
Last year, there were 44% more data breaches reported than the previous year, according to the identity Theft Resource Center. Further, hackers and malicious cyber criminals are going after small and mid-sized businesses specifically because many have not taken the steps to effectively secure their websites and networks from attacks. These are some of the startling indicators of the severity of cybersecurity issues for companies:
- 90% of IT service providers have reported recent ransomware attacks on small businesses (Dynamic Business Technologies)
- 97% of IT service providers predict that attacks on companies will increase significantly in the next two years (Dynamic Business Technologies)
- 1 out of 5 small to medium-sized businesses suffer a major disaster causing loss of critical data every 5 years (Richmond House)
Beyond the frequency of cybersecurity attacks on small businesses, there are other causes behind the damage to consider, such as how easily these attackers are able to get into your private networks. For example, 48% of IT providers blame phishing emails for ransomware attacks, while 36% blame the lack of employee cybersecurity training within small businesses, according to Dynamic Business Technologies. This means that while outside hackers are targeting your company, it is important for you to keep in mind that the level of protection you place on your site and internal systems will make a difference in whether or not your data will be compromised.
Internal Errors Can Make Your Business More Vulnerable
Employees are often the biggest culprits for carrying malicious software (aka “malware”) into their business – and it’s often accidental. Mistakes such as opening or clicking on the wrong email or overall lack of awareness about cyber security best practices among employees can open the flood gates. In fact, email attachments have become the #1 delivery vehicle for malware, with email links coming in at #3 according to the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.
Whether you’ve already implemented a secure backup strategy or you’re beginning to shop around for the perfect solution, there are several tactics to help safeguard your company from website, email and data disasters. Some key action-items:
- Backup your website and email frequently.
- Protect your Wi-Fi and access to private networks with a complex password.
- Install a firewall to protect your network and allow safe data while blocking out the bad.
- Regularly update your anti-virus software and passwords to guard against new threats.
For the 71% of small businesses that have a website, 42% are using software that leaves them open to attack. The financial loss that hackers can inflict on a business far outweighs the upfront cost to secure their website and systems, which are the lifeline of a company.
Prevention in the Cloud
Cloud-based backup solutions are a cost-efficient solution for small businesses. Thanks to the power of the cloud, backup solutions (like ours) can automatically restore websites to a previous version and practically eliminate downtime when incidents do occur. In addition to cost effectiveness and greater functionality, cloud backups are scalable enough to grow with your business needs. For these reasons, many small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly turning to the cloud to manage their business operations. In fact, a recent IDC study for small and mid-sized businesses revealed that 70% of small companies with 10 to 99 employees and 90% of midsize businesses with 100 to 499 employees were integrating cloud use into their businesses.
If you’re searching for a website hosting company to help safeguard your email, website and other important data, consider a cloud-based automated backup solution to track and store all changes made to your website. This functionality will provide backup history for both short- and long-term storage so that if your website is compromised, regularly updated backups will help get things running again with minor losses.
The post Digital Damage Control: How Small Businesses Can Protect Their Online Revenue Stream appeared first on Home Business Magazine.