Hacking is an everyday occurrence, unfortunately, in our online “Internet of Everything” society today.
Many large companies and government departments are highly aware of the vulnerability of their databases and ongoing security of their communication platforms.
These organisations have the resources and skill set to handle and, more importantly, prevent hacking. Even so, we see large organisations such as K-Mart, Citibank, Walmart, US Forces, and other large companies losing critical and sensitive data, and being hacked and spammed.
Small to medium businesses do not get targeted like large ones, but when they do it is often fatal to their business existence. When their website is down, many of them are reliant on traditional marketing and usually this is “thin” or non-existent. Even if they are well known, potential customers go to the website to check and refer to their status before placing orders. A poor website, or one that is hacked, is a liability rather than an asset.
Why is it a liability in this circumstance?
- A hacked website loses prospects and business
- Websites exist on servers, and when they are not maintained or protected with security protocols, they are easy for hackers to attack and they form “poor neighbours” with other sites on the server, and everyone gets hacked – especially if they are lax small businesses too.
- Having customers unable to contact you online because your emails and website are down makes them worry about security and service, and timely completion of projects. This could be the reason for trialling another provider.
- If you have an online shop, then orders can be lost and the shop gets a bad name, and people worry about putting details on a shop or site that is not secure and protected with best practice.
- Sites that are a source of reference send the wrong message, image and can disqualify you from being considered for existing and future business.
It’s no use saying, “Why would they attack our small site?” because who gets hacked is random and irrational.
Here are four things you can do to protect your website and online communication platforms, including shops if you have one.
- Make certain your website is the latest, preferably WordPress, and that you have a Content Management System that allows you to keep your site up to date on content and visuals, and attend to plug ins which can otherwise provide hacking entry and challenge.
- Ensure you have backup of your website so if you get hacked you can renovate the back-up copy quickly and be back online quickly without losing credibility.
- Ensure you change your server provider or web administrator changes your CPanel (control panel) password for your site. Also, keep a record in a safe place of your server provider, contact details and latest CPanel password.
You should also have your WordPress password (to make website changes) and your email passwords written down, and change them often.
- Watch out for any communication about firewall attacks sent to you by your server provider. If you do not get this information, there is a chance that you have the best website in the world, or your server provider is failing to keep you aware of attacks. If attacks are frequent, then you need your server provider to change your CPanel password.