It’s well known that many of the biggest companies in the world have been hacked by cyber thieves, cyber terrorists, and even foreign countries trying to disrupt Western business interests. But many small business owners believe they are safe from such threats because of their size. At one time, this was generally true. However, today, small businesses are especially attractive targets, specifically due to their size.
All too often, small business owners use a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to their website. Additionally, small businesses are rarely able to keep full time IT staff, so they have to outsource their IT work at an additional cost. Like all additional costs, small businesses owners try to keep those to a minimum. Thus, they sacrifice one of their most needed assets.
Hackers target small businesses for a variety of reasons. They can steal information from visitors to the business’ website. Hackers aren’t always just looking for credit card or other sensitive data. They may just want to gather names and e-mail addresses. That kind of information can help them get personal data as part of a larger scam. Of course, in a worst case scenario, they also can gain control of the website and change your content.
Technically, anything connected to the Internet can be hacked. It’s just a question of when. So, as a small business, the answer to whether you can get hacked is simply, “Yes.” With this in mind, it’s important to take preventative steps.
How to Avoid Being Hacked
Website security has become an essential part of running a business of any size. If you have a web presence, you open the door to anyone who wants to get in. Thus, it is important to take steps to install “locks.” There are some simple and relatively inexpensive steps a business owner can take to avoid being hacked:
● Make sure that your web hosting and domain registration companies have strong security measures.
● Make sure your coding is secure. There is information available online to show what steps are needed to do this.
● Make sure your computers are “hardened.” This means configuring an OS securely, updating it, creating rules and policies to help govern the system in a secure manner, and removing
● unnecessary applications and services. Again, information on how to do this can be found online for your specific OS.
● Install a web application firewall that blocks unwanted traffic from spammers and bots.
● Hide your admin pages. Use robots_txt file to keep search engines from indexing those pages.
● Stay updated and back up frequently. Even if the worst happens, you will have the most updated information saved somewhere so you can start again.
These days, having a website that is there for your customers at all times is vital. Taking the time to plan ahead and keep your site more secure can prove to be worth the investment you make.