Cyber Security Tips For Small Businesses
Cyber Security is the primary concern of the companies these days with overall market coverage of around 83.5 billion USD in the year 2017. According to the forecast presented by IDC, this figure will touch an amount of 119.9 billion USD by the year 2021.
Come to think of it, these two global events have a lot of similarities vis-à-vis their impact on small businesses. Cyberattacks and data breaches are taking place on a global scale and are happening every few seconds. It has the potential to put you out of business. Therefore, small business owners need to take common-sense precautions to protect themselves from both.
In this article, however, we’ll focus on cybersecurity and how to protect your business from rising cyberattacks. And one of the most vulnerable parts of your cybersecurity infrastructure as a small business is your website. Your website is an easy target for cybercriminals because it’s exposed to the world. The repercussions of a compromised website can be severe for small businesses in particular. As a small business owner, security should be one of your primary concerns when choosing a web hosting service.
Cybersecurity Threats and Small Business Websites
Data shows that small businesses are the most vulnerable to website security threats, but this is not by design. Cybercriminals employ bots to sniff out vulnerabilities on websites and when one is found, they will try to exploit it. In most cases, they are not actively seeking out any websites, in particular, just the ones with security gaps they can take advantage of. It’s often not feasible for small businesses and individuals to set up advanced security protocols for their websites.
Unlike large corporations, small businesses often don’t have sufficient security acumen nor the time and budget to devote to website security. As a result, small businesses are more vulnerable to website security threats. Some small businesses can afford to outsource cybersecurity but the vast majority of them are dependent on tools and systems put in place by their web host for website security. The problem is that many web hosting services aren’t nearly as keen on website security as you’d like.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks – According to experts, global Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks have increased tremendously in the second quarter of 2020. DDoS attacks attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted network, service, or server by overwhelming it with internet traffic. The attacker sends multiple requests to the targeted website with the goal of exceeding its capacity to handle multiple requests, effectively keeping it from functioning correctly. Denial-of-service to normal traffic occurs when the target web resource reaches its overflow capacity.
- SQL Injections – SQL injection is one of the most frequent threats to website security. Short for Structured Query Language, SQL is a domain-specific programming language used for managing data held in a relational database management system. SQL injection is an application security weakness that allows hackers to manipulate an application’s database to access information that was never meant to be displayed. This website attack vector uses malicious SQL code to do undesirable things such as access or delete data and alter an application’s data-driven behaviour.
- Malware attacks – Malware is one of the most common website security threats targeting small businesses. From viruses, trojans, drive-by downloads, ransomware, there are many forms of malware out there. All malware contains an intrusive code that attempts to take control of your website in some way. Malware replicates fast and can immediately spread in your network. Ransomware, a type of malware, can steal user information and encrypt files, destroy computer programs as well as the operating system, and significantly reduce productivity within your organisation.
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) – It is a website security vulnerability that allows attackers to compromise the interactions that users have with the target website. Hackers inject malicious scripts into otherwise benign and trusted web applications with the aim of stealing users’ data through information such as cookies and session tokens. Cross-site scripting differs from other web attack vectors such as SQL injections in that it does not target the website itself, but rather the users of the target website.
Occlude the Doors for Malware:
Choosing a practical solution for your website is compulsory to maximize the growth of your business. Few master security providers drafting the shape of cryptography in the market are:
Databreaches.net is one of the security trust trademarks which delivers all the latest news on technology and cyber attacks. Their primary goal is to target the protection for web hosting, Cloudflare for DDoS and providing breach laws to the perceiver.
IBM is one of the leading IT pro with long-term relationships with cybersecurity presents various security mechanism for the web applications. IBM offers the protection against DDoS, spoofing and many more breaching techniques with its outstanding tools. The updated documentation for various types of attacks and protection techniques available to anyone on its website.
Wired is one of the dominant media contentment stands with a bunch of security and other updates. Wired is not only famous for the cybersecurity but it attracts the visitors with its astonishing technology updates.
#4. Signal Magazine:
Signal Magazine is mainly for the cyber security professionals with publications of the AFCEA, emphasis on providing support to the government and militaries since past 72 years. It assists with blogs, publications, ebooks, seminars, newsletters and many more featured security services to draw awareness in users. The primary focus is on defence, intelligence, security and technical innovations.
Ways for Businesses to Increase Website Security
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, malware, SQL injections, and cross-site scripting are some of the most common website security threats facing small businesses. There’s no shortage of potential threats capable of bringing your business operations to a grinding halt. Arguably, the security features provided by your web host are more important than many of the steps that you can take to protect your business. That’s why security should be a primary concern when choosing a web hosting service.
That being said, there are a lot of steps you can take to secure your website and ward off most of the aforementioned website security threats. Here are some of them.
1- Use a Firewall to Prevent DDoS Attacks
DDoS has become a common attack vector through which vast amounts of data are requested from your website. A DDoS attack can overwhelm your web server and cause it to reach its overflow capacity. The internet traffic from a DDoS attack can make your website traffic unreachable. A firewall can block this type of attack from its source. Implementing a firewall can block malicious inbound traffic and is an effective way to prevent DDoS attacks. Enable firewalls on all work computers and networks to strengthen your defence and prevent cybercriminals from gaining access.
2- Backup and Encrypt Your Data
Small businesses often overlook backups as an element of data security. As a small business, it’s important to ensure that you are backing up your data for security purposes. Having an effective encryption and backup strategy will help your business minimise or avoid loss or destruction of data in a cyberattack. Encryption scrambles your data and makes it unintelligible to those with unauthorised access. A secure backup gives you a trusted repository of the most recent copies of data and system files to help you restore to a known, clean system in the event of an attack.
3- Antivirus Implication:
Malware and viruses are becoming a major problem for website owners. These threats are currently in a rapid development period and are very hard to keep up with. While your web hosting provider should offer certain protections against malware, virus and malware detection is not the host’s responsibility alone. Install antivirus software to scan for malicious programs all over your system. Having a variety of cybersecurity tools in your defence is imperative when it comes to maximising your business’s network security and preventing intrusion.
4- Risk Management Planning:
A business can not stop serving its client in cases like attacks or any other accidental loss. A strategic risk management plan to face the imminent threats with alternate solutions for various problem scenarios should be maintained to drive continuity to your business.
5- Data Replication and Recovery:
Data is the most precious treasure of any organisation as it contains all sensitive information about the organisation such as client, bank, accounts, emails, processes, strategies etc. Protecting this information is the priority of an organisation. This information stored at multiple locations for future recovery in case of any accidents or other loss.
The recent advancement in technology presents the introduction of blockchain for offline data storage brings the maximized security for the data. Anyone can enroll in blockchain training offered by various platforms on the web designed to deliver an effective way to achieve the realistic secure environment.
6- SSL Encryption:
The data flow over the world wide web can be intercepted between the client and server. The secure socket layer certificate issued by authority encrypts the data flow over the transport layer of HTTPs. The inclusion of SSL certification maintains a trust factor between the client and website.
Apart from websites, the inclusion of SSL is also compulsory for business emails to secure your business information on SMTP or POP3 protocol of networking.
7- Improve Password Security
Passwords are essential to data security. The vast majority of cyberattacks result from insecure or stolen passwords. This is not surprising given that a lot of people don’t take password security seriously. Case in point, ‘password’ is among the top 25 most commonly used passwords globally. Use strong passwords to prevent hackers from gaining access to your website via brute force. You can use a password manager tool to generate and store strong passwords. Also, change passwords often and don’t use the same password for all your online accounts.
8- Protect Your Wi-Fi Connections
Public Wi-Fi connections are wrought with numerous security risks. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your connection from malicious threat actors lurking on the internet when connected to public networks. Encourage your employees to use a VPN when working from home during to protect company data from hackers and other threat actors lurking on unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
9- Keep Your Software Up to Date
Keeping your system up to date is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of a security breach. As stated earlier in the article, malware is in a rapid development phase, which means that threats are evolving faster than we can keep up with. Software developers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities in their code and release updates or patches periodically to fix them before they can be exploited. Be sure to download updates for your operating system and web applications as soon as they are released.
Cybersecurity incidents have increased dramatically since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Being one of the most vulnerable parts of your cybersecurity setup, the security of your website should be a priority. Your web hosting provider plays a key role in keeping your website secure. Therefore, security should be a primary concern when choosing a web host. However, there are still plenty of reasonable precautions business owners can take to keep their websites secure and visitors safe.