Small businesses are their own worst enemy when it comes to cybersecurity. They tend to believe cyber attackers won’t target them, mistakenly thinking they don’t have anything worth stealing or that they are simply not on criminals’ radars.
That probably explains why, in a GoDaddy survey of micro organizations from 2018, two thirds said they spent less than $500 a year on website security.
Things haven’t got much better since, with website vulnerabilities still among the biggest causes of data breaches.
This is a big risk, because website vulnerabilities are the biggest cause of data breaches. It is also frustrating, as they are one of the simplest weaknesses to fix However, only 30% of organizations said they regularly check for vulnerabilities, with 40% saying they rarely if ever perform checks.
So, why is it so important to invest in website security?
The most common website security weakness is unpatched software.
Almost without exception, every piece of software you use contains vulnerabilities. Some have relatively benign consequences, whereas others pose a more significant threat.
Software providers constantly look for flaws and release patches to fix them. Once a patch is released, the weakness is made public – which means that cyber criminals know what to target.
It’s therefore essential that organizations have a patch management program to make sure updates are applied promptly.
When cyber criminals discover website vulnerabilities, their most likely next step is to inject malware into the organization’s systems.
One way they might do this is to plant ransomware, which encrypts files and prevents employees from accessing them until the organization pay up.
Criminal hackers might also plant spamware, which can insert fraudulent links across your website, or spyware, which monitors employees’ Internet activity and gathers sensitive information, such as passwords.
The attacks can also cause lasting collateral damage to website performance.
Search engines penalize or blacklist organizations whose websites are either unavailable or compromised.
This is a major problem for businesses that rely on SEO and organic traffic to generate website views, because your site only needs to move down a few places to lose ground to competitors.
How to prevent website vulnerabilities
There’s no one right way to protect your website or a specific amount of money you must spend.
However, it’s clear that – for the majority of organizations – current measures aren’t enough. But that’s not to say that you need to break the bank to secure your systems.
GoDaddy found that only 4% of micro organizations spent more than $1,000 on website security, so spending that amount would put you among those that are investing the most.
That’s still a significant amount of money for many, but it’s a fraction of what you would spend to recover from a breach.
For an idea of the steps you should be taking to stay secure, we suggest that you take a look at ISO 27001. It’s the international standard that describes best practice for an ISMS (information security management system), which helps you monitor and address your security concerns in one place.
The Standard contains specific guidance on patch management, but it also ensures that you improve your defenses across the whole organization.
With our ISO 27001 FastTrack™ service, you can certify to the Standard in just three months.
Our consultants will provide ongoing reviews of your ISMS, conduct an internal audit, and provide help with your staff training and awareness practices.
No matter what threats your organization faces, we have the solution.