Online security for small businesses

Written on 11 July, 2016 by Lisa Shannahan
Categories Small BusinessTags online security

You wouldn’t dream of leaving your computer unprotected from malware and viruses – your website shouldn’t be any different. Small and medium businesses are at equal if not more risk of being targeted for hacking, fraud, and spam compared to large corporations because they often have poor security, so can be easy targets.

Here are the top five things to look into when securing your website.

Website Security

Just like for your computer, anti-virus protection is a must. If your website is hacked, not only are your information and your customers’ details at risk, but your website could be blacklisted by Google and stop appearing in search results.

A website security service performs regular scans of your website, detects malware (malware is an abbreviation of “malicious software”, programs designed to damage computer systems) and viruses, and removes hack or malware infections or compromised files.

SSL Certificates

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. An SSL certificate protects sensitive data being transmitted via your website, like your customers’ credit card numbers, login information, and personal contact details, by enabling it to be encrypted so that it can only be read by the authorised server. Even if the data is somehow intercepted, it is scrambled and unreadable.

Displaying an SSL certificate from a well-recognised and trusted provider, like GeoTrust, on your website that shows your company as the owner can help to improve your customers’ trust in you and shows that your site is legitimate. 

Website Hardening

Lots of websites use open source software or plugins to improve their functionality. Unfortunately, this can make them more vulnerable to attack. Website Hardening helps to strengthen your website’s defences against attacks from hackers, malware, and viruses. Security experts will carefully examine your website for potential vulnerabilities and take steps to reinforce your site, including upgrading any open source software you use to the most stable versions and closing any potential loopholes that could be exploited by hackers in accordance with IT security best practices. This service is ideally performed at least annually, or more often if your website has been compromised or you have updated your website’s software or functionality since your last service.

Domain Protection

Cybersquatters buy domain names containing or featuring existing business names or brands in order to capitalise on their reputation. If your business name is targeted, your business could lose credibility and trust as a result. Unfortunately, with the number of domain spaces available and more opening up all the time, it’s not viable to proactively register all possible permutations of your business name to prevent this happening to you.

Domain Protection is a service that monitors registrations of names matching your own and sends live alert emails so you can stay on top of attempts to leverage your brand or market image.

Domain Privacy

When you register a .com or .net domain name, your personal contact information (like your phone number, physical and postal address, email and name) is stored and made available through a public WHOIS database, which can be accessed by anyone – including telemarketers, spammers, or identity thieves. Domain Privacy services mask your contact details, replacing them with those of the provider.