Yes! Running an online business does come with a lot of challenges. They include keeping up with new marketing technologies for the online platform, focusing on quality service, building business strategies to increase conversions, and making your business a profitable venture.
With this comes the added responsibility to uphold the trust that a client or customer bestows upon you by sharing their sensitive information on your online platform.
So, it is of utmost importance to have foolproof cybersecurity management strategies in place to protect your own and your customer's crucial information from ever-increasing hacking attempts.
According to the 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon
(Source:https://enterprise.verizon.com/resources/executivebriefs/2020-dbir-executive-brief.pdf ), 45% of breaches featured hacking, 17% were caused by malware, and 22% were due to phishing. Hence, your business can not achieve the zenith of success unless every effort is put together to have a robust business security management program helping you sail through against any threats posed by hackers and safeguard your brand's reputation.
The cybersecurity threats that your business faces today are continuously evolving and are becoming more complex, with hackers using new technologies. It is essential for you first to be aware of these threats to understand and implement the solutions to protect your website against them. Here are some of the significant threats faced by online businesses that you must look out for. Online Business Security Threats You Must Be Aware Of
Malware: Malware is a malicious code like viruses, spyware, ransomware developed by hackers to breach through the user's network or system, most commonly by clicking on harmful links or email attachments. If the malware can break through the system files, it can create serious havoc by causing major data leaks and inflicting heavy financial losses to the company.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) Attack: Hackers put the webserver under seizure by overwhelming traffic flow and make the services of the website unavailable to the user. DDOS attacks' objective is sometimes to tarnish the business's image by a rival competitor or, these days most widely, to ask for a ransom amount and threatening to crucial data leaks if the ransom is not paid or to give back access to its resources.
Phishing: Phishing has become the most used hacking method to get hold of a user’s crucial information like login credentials, credit card detail, or trying to download malware. It is widely executed by sending phishing links through emails. The mails seem to come from trusted sources, organizations, or individuals that show emergency and try to trick the user into clicking on the link.
Man-In-The-Middle (MitM) Attack: MitM attack happens when hackers try to infiltrate into the communication between user browsers and web servers over the internet, mostly on unsecured connections, unsecured public wifi, or unsecured websites. The aim is to steal the user's sensitive data and misuse it.
SQL Injection: A Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attacks the server using SQL and infects the database files directly with malware, exposing sensitive data to hackers.
Now, let us focus on some most effective security tips that you must pay attention to for improving your business website security.
1. Pay Attention to Having an Efficient and Powerful Password Policy
Realize the importance of having a strong password as, most often, a password is the most ignored and casually approached security feature by users. A weak password, if cracked and hackers succeed in breaching the configuration files of the system, could cause severe damage to the organization. Refrain from using words or phrases as passwords since you could succumb very easily under a dictionary or brute force attack by hackers.
The password chosen is always advisable to be a long one, preferably a randomly generated mix of upper- and lower-case alphabets, numbers, and special characters. Have a clear password policy in place for your organization, and make sure it is strictly followed. Do not use the same password for a long time across different platforms; this will only expose you to unnecessary risks. Change your passwords frequently.
Let the most robust password be with employees having access to crucial information like admin or configuration files. Systems must be set up to lockout users after a certain number of failed login attempts. Setting up a multi-factor authentication is a good idea to give a useful additional layer of protection. You could set a verification code sent to your mobile or email.
2. Ensure Effective Security Measures To Safeguard Your Content Management System(CMS)
The technology used for the platform known as Content Management System(CMS) like WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace allows you to launch your website with ease that was never experienced before.
There is no doubt that the excellent user interface, multiple design choices, and plug-ins available make the CMS immensely popular, particularly among new online platform launchers. Owing to its popularity, CMS has also become the most targeted platform by hackers. It becomes imperative to keep your CMS secure, and here are some simple yet effective security hacks for you to follow.
- Take Regular Updates For Your CMS:Always keep your CMS updated to the latest version available. New versions will help you overcome any vulnerabilities that might have been associated with the older version and will improve your website's performance. It is equally important to update all the themes and plug-ins installed on your website. You should also remove any plug-ins that are no more in use as they only tend to create vulnerabilities that hackers can target.
- Provide SSL Certificates Security Protection:Securing your CMS website with SSL Certificate should be the most crucial part of every organization's Cybersecurity Management Strategy. An SSL secured website encrypts all the communication between the user's browser and the webserver and thus protects against any data breach. The SSL secured website protocol changes from HTTP to secured HTTPS. Many reputed SSL Certificate providers in the market provide an array of SSL Certificates to choose from depending on your security needs and budgets. The cheapest wildcard SSL Certificate proves to be the best balance between all your security needs and budgets. The wildcard SSL Certificate offers you the ease of securing all the first-level subdomains under your primary domain with a single certificate, making it a cheaper investment. You can also get an SSL Certificate as a part of some plan from your web hosting provider.
- Creating Backups Regularly is Critical:To protect your CMS, taking regular backups for your system files and crucial data holds the key to keeping your website up and running in case of any data loss due to any cyberattack. Keep all the backups safely protected so that the site can be immediately restored.
- Use Firewall Protection: Firewall protects your website by keeping a check on incoming malicious traffic; if any malicious request is detected, it is blocked completely.
- SQL-Injections Protection:You must use Prepared statements to protect your CMS from SQL Injection manipulations. Prepared statements make sure that SQL server does not open CMS and handle the inputs to the SQL statements safely in case of a SQL Injection attack.
3. Protect Your Administrator Panel
Hackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities using automated bots, and the administrator panel of your website is under constant threat from such cybercriminals. So, to counter such attacks, you must protect your admin panel access by multi-factor authentication.
You can also add an extra layer of protection by having restricted access to the admin page. This can be achieved by creating an htaccess file that hosts a list of IP addresses that are allowed to access the admin page.
4. Create Awareness Among Employees Regarding Best Cybersecurity Practices
It is not just enough to have a cybersecurity management strategy; it is equally important to educate your employees regarding best security practices and strictly follow them. Few essential pointers that organizations must make their employees aware of are,
- Identifying phishing emails and not getting tricked into clicking on phishing links,
- Not accessing any social platforms from office systems, logging out of accounts when using public systems, and not sharing passwords.
5. Put Together A Cybersecurity Emergency Plan
It is essential to put together a well thought and planned Cybersecurity Emergency program and let all the employees and departments know their roles in this plan. Employees should be trained to identify cyber threats and timely report to the emergency response team. In case a threat is reported immediately, the emergency response plan should be initiated, and the emergency team should be on the lookout for any hidden risks.
Identification of any external help of Data Security Experts should be made proactively so that their timely participation can be ensured in any security emergency. Most importantly, the backup plans for recovery of any potential data loss and to keep your website running should be well thought over and executed.
In conclusion, being aware of the various threats online, combined with following well-thought strategies and creating awareness around security, can improve your idea of security for an online business and maintain a bond of trust with the customer.