We are living in a hyperconnected digital age that is full of opportunity for budding professionals looking to grow their businesses, branch out to new customers and make a mark in their industry. But, with technological advancement comes the threat of devastating cyberattacks and security breaches. And big or small, if you don’t take measures to protect your trade business, you could put yourself at great risk of being hacked. So, to help you on your path to digital enlightenment, here is an introduction to website security for your budding trade business.
Cyberattacks are real — and they’re costly
Before we delve any deeper into our introduction to website security, here are some insights that put the threat, and detrimental effects, of cyber attacks into perspective:
- Seven out of 10 organizations state that their security risk increased significantly in 2017.
- A notable 58 percent of malware attack victims are categorized as small businesses.
- In 2017 alone, devastating cyberattacks cost small- and medium-sized businesses an average of about $2.2 million.
- 60 percent of small businesses confirm that attacks are becoming more severe and more sophisticated.
The threat of cyberattacks to your trade business are real and they come with serious consequences.
This certification protects all of your, and your prospective clients’, information and transactions online — and without the green padlock provided by an SSL certificate, browsers like Google Chrome will tag your site as “Not Secure,” which put simply, is very bad for business.
Getting a solid SSL certificate is an absolute must for sustainable website security and ongoing commercial success.
An introduction to website security
Now that you understand the reality of cyberattacks and the importance of web security, we’re going to tell you everything you need to consider in order to protect your trade business online, from the ground up.
Using secure passwords and a password manager
In today’s world, if you don’t use strong, complex passwords for your business’s most critical online accounts — from web hosting and social media to online banking and beyond — you put yourself at risk. And making each password unique is essential.
To help you generate and store complex passwords for all of your accounts, securely, a password manager is worth the investment. Sign up for a reliable service and you’ll have access to your very own digital gatekeeper.
Password security is especially important now that many businesses are on various social media platforms. Instagram is a great place to show off your carpentry skills and Facebook allows you to promote your business without a website, but you definitely don’t want to use the same password for both. One gets hacked and it’s likely both get hacked.
Use a trusted hosting provider
A trusted, reputable web hosting service offers built-in security features like 24/7 security monitoring and DDoS protection. And look for a hosting provider that also offers a website backup service so that most of the data, assets and information you need can be retrieved should an attack occur.
Consider a car mechanic who accepts appointments online. The customer will enter their car information on the website and this might contain some important data, like the vehicle identification number (VIN). That customer probably doesn’t want information leaked. A reputable hosting service will help to assure the mechanic and her customers that their information is safe.
Related: How to find the best hosting company
Conduct regular website backups
As mentioned, it’s always good practice regularly back up your website, just to be safe. You can go with a hosting provider that also offers daily backups or do your own backups. If you have a WordPress website, here’s how to back it up.
WordPress website security
Accessible, reliable and easy to update, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is used by business owners across industries. Due to its popularity, WordPress also is a magnet for hackers. According to Sucuri’s Hacked Website Report 2017, 83 percent of the more than 34,000 infected websites analyzed by the Sucuri team were built on the WordPress platform — an increase from 74 percent in 2016. The report’s authors note that the problem lies not with the core software itself but with “its improper deployment, configuration and overall maintenance by the webmasters.”
If you use WordPress to run your business’s blog or website, you should fortify it by regularly maintaining your security patches and conducting regular theme and plugin updates.
Check out this page for a wealth of information about WordPress security.
Limit admin access to your website and restrict user permissions
Another simple but effective (and incredibly important) way of securing your online assets is to give limited admin access only to those who regularly edit, update or maintain your trade business website, or by editing the user permissions of your staff or admins. You should be able to do so with ease by updating the settings with your website host or in the dashboard of your CMS. Enabling basic HTTP authentication or generating encrypted passwords will also do the trick.
Performing regular security and malware scans
Last, but certainly not least, to protect your website from the threat of cyberattacks, you should conduct regular security and malware scans to check for any breaches, threats, weaknesses or harmful entities lurking under your nose — digitally speaking, of course. This activity will fortify your business and make it far more difficult for hackers to break through your fortress.
An electrician’s customers likely have provided information about their homes — address, square footage, etc. — as well as credit card numbers, and this electrician might have saved them on a cloud-based service or accepted the information on the website. Again, not a good idea to have this info in the hands of a hacker. Performing malware scans can help to keep this kind of information secure.
Protecting your business
While securing your trade service website against the threat of cyber attacks might seem a daunting and time-consuming pursuit, doing so, the right way, will protect you from the kind of security breaches that could cost you.
We hope our introduction to website security has helped to give you everything you need to protect your business online.
To learn more, check out the following resources:
Best of luck.