Cyber security: It’s time to check that your digital presence is protected

- May 19, 2021 3 MIN READ

For many of today’s small business owners, your website serves as the primary means of communication with your customers. It’s where you can promote your products or services and tell your story. But as society’s reliance on the internet grows, so too does the risk of a cyberattack. With potentially severe financial and reputational damage, don’t underestimate the impact a breach can have on your business and customers, writes Tamara Oppen, Managing Director at GoDaddy Australia.

Why is cybersecurity so important?

Digital transformation has surged over the last 12 months, with even traditional businesses having to adopt online resources practically overnight. While this transition has been a lifeline for many, increased digitalisation can result in increased online risks because security safeguards may not have been implemented at the same time.

From July 2019 to June 2020, the Australian Cyber Security Commission (ACSC) responded to 2,266 cybersecurity incidents and received 59,806 cybercrime reports – that’s one every 10 minutes. Cybersecurity is rarely far from the headlines. An attack can severely harm a small business – not just by exposing customers’ details, but by the reputational damage that often follows.

As cyberattacks become more common, businesses of all sizes must take precautions to help protect themselves. Even a small business website holds data that is considered sensitive, such as customer addresses, passwords and card details. In fact, small business owners may think their websites aren’t likely targets, but attacks are automated and do not discriminate between global corporations and Australian small businesses. But how does it happen, and how can you try to protect your website?

Malware, and recognising the warning signs

Malware, a form of malicious software, is one of the most common security threats which can track your visitors and steal their information. Malware includes harmful programs such as viruses, worms and trojans. This type of malicious software is used by hackers to gain access to personal information, such as names, addresses and credit card numbers.

A firewall is an important tool to help prevent malware and DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks. Malware scanning and remediation can help to get a website back up and running if there is a problem.  Businesses can consider further protecting their online presence with website security services that provide continuous monitoring and can identify virus attacks as they are happening and recommend immediate fixes.

Implementing safeguards to help reduce the risk of an attack is crucial, as well as knowing when and if your website may have been attacked. If your website is suddenly offline without reason or warning, your anti-virus software should alert you to a malware intrusion. While it’s not possible to 100% guarantee that your website won’t be hacked, there are ways you can give your website the best protection possible.

Protecting your website

Installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate for your website is an important step because it helps to encrypt the transmission of business and customer data from the website to the servers. Every website that is SSL protected shows a padlock next to the URL browser, so visitors can easily identify that a website is further protected.

Equally as important are some basic security protections such as using strong passwords and regularly updating them. Use different passwords for different websites, and never share them with someone else. When there are system updates available for your website, apps, computer and mobile devices, make sure you install them, as they often include the latest security updates. Whether you publish a regular blog or run an eCommerce website, if your software is outdated, your site will become more vulnerable.

There are many products on the market like, for example, GoDaddy Website Security, which offers SSL Certificates, malware scanning, firewalls, and continuous security monitoring services to help give your website extra protections and your customers greater trust in your business.

Today, the stakes have never been higher when it comes to cybersecurity and the potential damage to a business. By understanding the risks and proactively implementing a few security measures to mitigate them, you can help protect both your business and your customers.

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