As a business owner, your attention is pulled in many different directions. Because there are so many things to worry about, website security may fall down the list of things you pay close attention to. But the truth is, the health and wellbeing of your business largely depends on how secure your website is. A failure to keep software updated and protected can lead to costly damage that may put your business in jeopardy. How so? Let's take a look at the top 4 reasons.
Reason #1: You and Your Customer’s Information Could Be At Risk
Today, users are online more than ever. And especially when it comes to services that are being used on a daily basis, their information is being entrusted to many people – including you.
Your website may collect their name and email address. If you’re an e-commerce business that handles purchases through your site, then it’s not uncommon for your web servers to host their payment information, mailing address, date of birth, and even their social security number.
If a hacker gets his or her hands on this information, it would be fairly easy to steal their identity and make fraudulent purchases.
By prioritizing your website security, you safeguard your customers’ sensitive information against data breaches.
Your Assets Could Be At Risk
While the customer comes first, an insecure website could also take a toll on your business assets.
Cybercriminals can exploit vulnerabilities on your system to install viruses on your website that could impact your computers. And if you depend on those computers to run your business, a flood of viruses could bring them down.
You invested significant money in proper equipment for your business. If your system is crippled by a virus, you may have to spend additional money to hire a professional to clean the machines – or even worse, replace them altogether.
Reason #2: Hacks Keep Going Up
In 2021, bot traffic made up as much as 42.3% of all internet traffic (and there are way more bad bots than “good” bots.)
This does not mean that every cyberattack is successful, of course. There are hundreds of thousands of attacks that are successfully prevented and shut down before they’ve done any damage.
This is good news, because it means that you don’t have to be fearful of operating online, either. Even though hacking is a very strong risk, it’s a risk that is very often mitigated with the right technology and strategies at your disposal.
An added bonus: cementing your reputation as a business that can be trusted with a secure website could be invaluable when a competing business finds itself hacked.
Setting yourself apart from other businesses and prioritizing web security could lead to increased sales.
Reason #3: Revenue Loss
Yes, you’ll likely lose revenue if you get hacked. If customers don’t trust you, they’ll stop buying. But let’s go deeper.
Customers want to do business with people that they trust. When you have to send out a message to them stating that you were the victim of a data breach and their financial information may have been compromised, they are going to think twice before doing business with you again.
And if your business has any kind of significant public reputation, then your breach could be the subject of news reports. That is a lot of bad publicity for you and your business – and not only would you lose existing customers, but you also would lose potential customers.
Browser Warnings & Blacklisting
If your site is marked as a security risk, you are going to not only have a reputation as a risk for customers, but also a risk for other websites.
Web browsers will start issuing warnings to potential customers that your site is unsafe, encouraging those users to go elsewhere. And now you’ve just lost a sale.
That’s even if your site is found to begin with: Google and other search engines routinely penalize sites that are deemed unsafe. After all, if hackers install unsafe code on your site, it can unknowingly be spread to other sites.
That means your site is blacklisted on the internet, and your potential customers won’t be able to get anywhere near your business – through no fault of your own.
Your sales could be at risk. Each of the above situations will impact your sales in different ways.
If your customers are affected, they’ll leave. If your assets are impacted, you lose a lot of productivity while rectifying the problem. If your reputation suffers and you can’t be found in the search results, new customers won’t show up.
All of these things cause a loss of sales for your business.
Reason #4: Cleanup is More Expensive
Recovering from a hacked website is not impossible, but it gets expensive rather quickly.
Once malware has been installed on a WordPress site, for example, the site owner needs to hire someone not just to remove the bad code, but also test every corner of the site and ensure that it is clean and safe to use again. When you are paying hundreds of dollars just to clean up a small bit of code due to web security issues, you will wish you had just taken a proactive approach and set up the security measures needed to prevent it from happening in the first place.
How Can You Protect Your Website?
As a small business owner, cyber security needs to be a priority. But you don’t want to spend every waking minute trying to figure out the technicalities of it and learning to code.
Instead, you just need to make sure that your site is being monitored and cleaned on a regular basis, which will ensure that the data stored on it is safe and secure for both users and you.
That’s why a service like SiteLock is so valuable to a business like yours. One of the many SiteLock security features includes a website scanner that conducts daily, automated scans using the latest information on malware and database attacks. You can have “set it and forget it” peace of mind that will free you to conduct your business with confidence, knowing that hackers aren’t going to get access to your site – or your customers.
It’s also important to make sure your site has the proper SSL certificate for your business - and that it’s managed regularly.