Whether you make sales through your website or it simply acts as an information tool, it is important that you keep it protected in any way that you can. If your website is breached by a cyberattack, there is every chance that you will have to pay a significant sum of money to get it functioning again – and it may even prove to be terminal for your business. One of the ways that you can protect your website is to make yourself informed with an online cybersecurity degree. If you are still not sure about why website security is so crucial to your business, the following article will outline exactly why this is the case.
Protect Your Customers
Your customers come to use your website with a certain level of trust, expecting that they will be able to use it with protection from you. Customers are often encouraged to part with a whole host of personal information, including their name, address, and credit card details. Hackers will be on the hunt for this sensitive information, so you have a duty towards your customers to keep their personal details private. If a data breach is recorded at your company, it could result in your customers losing their money. Not only this, but your reputation could take a serious hit, which could impact your ability to attract and retain customers in the future. Making yourself fully informed about the area by taking an online cybersecurity degree is certainly a useful and worthwhile activity.
As people live more of their lives online, they are more comfortable sharing their details with third parties in the assumption that they are going to be properly protected. Therefore, you have a responsibility towards protecting them in the best way possible. Not only this, but your customers enter into a contract with you when they start buying through your site. Therefore, it is integral that you uphold your own end of the bargain as it is likely to be a part of the law. For example, organizations like the European Union have put in place GDPR policies that list how data can and cannot be used.
The businesses that tend to be the most successful are the ones that put customer security right at the heart of their operation. If customers feel comfortable in coming back to you, it is more likely that you will achieve that all-important brand loyalty and repeat custom, which is what many businesses strive towards, but only a few manage to achieve.
Defend Your Assets
Defending your website is not just about protecting your customer’s interests – it is also about looking after your own assets. If there is a breach of your website, it can end up in your equipment or software being at risk as well. Hackers can install all sorts of viruses and malware, which can obviously have a hugely negative impact on your business. You spend a lot of money on your equipment, and it may not be so easy to replace, especially if you run a small business that doesn’t have a huge amount of capital in the bank.
If the viruses can be removed, it is often a time-consuming task that can cost your company a lot of money. At the worst end of the scale, the damage caused to your equipment may even be so serious that you need to have it all replaced. An online cyber security degree can help to give you the information that you need to make more informed decisions for the benefit of your business as a whole.
Another activity that is worth engaging in is to make a plan that outlines what you will do in the event of a cyber attack. This way, you will not be trying to tackle the issue totally unprepared. Instead, you will have a clear and concrete document that outlines what you are going to do in a different set of eventualities. When you make a document such as this one, it is also important that your staff is properly trained and also know about the basics of website security and how much of a difference this can make to your business and their livelihoods as well.
Look After Your Reputation
We have talked about it briefly earlier on, but a big part of website security is making sure that you have a reputation for excellence in security. Your customers need to feel comfortable using your website and services. Otherwise, they are not going to buy from your site and are likely to go elsewhere instead. If there is even a single high-profile data breach, this could cause damage to your company’s reputation, which may even go as far as being irreparable. Negative publicity is much easier to spread these days thanks to the advent of social media, so you cannot afford any mistakes that could otherwise have been prevented in one way or another. When people do a search for your company, the last thing that you want is for the negative stories to spring up straight away and immediately put people off using your services or buying your products.
Protect Your Other Business Areas
Defending your assets is one of the reasons given above as to why website security is critical, but the same is also true of protecting the other areas of your business, which could be possibly impacted by a website breach. If you think that it is only the website itself that could be under threat, it is time to think again. In fact, there could be more at risk here than you would have initially thought, which makes securing your website even more important. An online cybersecurity degree can help to equip you with the knowledge to make this defense just a little bit easier.
Certain hackers view websites as just the window they need to access other areas of your business that are potentially open, and the last thing you want to do is to leave this window slightly ajar for them to crawl through. Backing up your website is a central action to take – particularly if you run an eCommerce business that uses it as your main point of sale. Any interruptions caused by having to rebuild your current site or even put up a new one entirely could end up being potentially costly. Remember that your cloud services could also be at risk due to a website that is not properly protected.
Stop Loss of Sales
The number of sales that are made is the lifeblood of any business, and if your website goes down for any reason, this will obviously have a negative impact on how much you are able to sell on a regular basis. The downtime and loss of productivity are particularly damaging to small businesses that do not have a huge amount of leeway and capital to pay for this lost time and sales. Continuity is essential for a small business to achieve as much as possible. There is so much competition out there at the moment that you cannot afford to simply shut down as customers are likely to look elsewhere for similar goods and services. So, protecting your business website goes beyond just looking after this asset – it goes to the heart of taking care of your company as a whole.
Even if you are highly knowledgeable, you have taken an online cybersecurity degree; your business is not under threat of a cyber-attack – it is still worth putting in place a policy that outlines what you are going to do in the event that your website goes down due to some other technical issues. Do you manage the site in-house, or is it the responsibility of an external agency? A clear communication strategy with your customers can go a long way towards ensuring that your customers understand what is going on, that you have acknowledged the issue, and you are working towards its resolution in the most efficient way possible.
Gives You the Edge on Competition
Business is all about competition and making sure that you stay one step ahead of your competitors at all times. Having a good level of knowledge developed from an online cybersecurity degree is a great way of giving yourself some highly useful skills that your competitors may not have thought of gaining before. Even the simple act of properly securing your website can go a long way. If your website is secure, but the site of your competitors is wide open, this gives you a natural competitive edge as you know that you are not exposed to hackers in the same way that they are. While you don’t wish anyone’s website to get hacked, you should certainly make it as unlikely as possible that it is your own.
Forms part of a Protective Strategy
Proper website security should form an integral part of your overall business protection strategy. Not only is it important that you create such a strategy, but you need to properly communicate it with your staff members to let them know just how essential the actions that they take on a day to day basis are for the long-term health of your business. While website security isn’t the only part of protecting your business from criminals, it should form a central pillar of your overall strategy. A great way of forming a more conclusive strategy is developing first-hand knowledge through taking an online cybersecurity degree or similar qualification.
Gives You Peace of Mind
The final reason for properly protecting your website is a simple one – it gives you peace of mind. When you run a busy business, you have a million things on your mind, and it feels like you are juggling a lot of balls all at once. If you are constantly worrying about a cyber-attack occurring, this can be immensely distracting and will take your attention away from other areas of the company where it could be more useful and valuable. Of course, if you want to be really on top of the subject, it can be immensely useful to obtain an online cybersecurity degree.
While you may not be able to stop your business from becoming a target, you can certainly make it as hard as possible for hackers to target your company website. When they realize that you have put the proper protection in place, they are more likely to move onto an easier target and give up on your own business website. You have spent a long time building up your business, and you don’t want it to be at risk of being derailed by a malicious activity that you could have otherwise prevented.
Cyber attacks represent a very real risk for businesses, both large and small, and properly protecting your website is a key way of making sure that the risk to your own company is as minimized as possible. Remember, cybercriminals are always adapting to the current trends, so just because a policy is effective now, it doesn’t mean that it will stay that way. Keeping up to date with the latest thinking and taking an online cybersecurity degree can help to go a long way towards defending your company and its interests. Ultimately, you want to reduce your vulnerability in any way that you can for the reasons that we have listed above and more.
Proper website security is obviously essential for your own business and its reputation, but it is also important for your customers who are entrusting their personal details to you and expect them to remain safe. Reputation is everything to your business, and you don’t want people to get the wrong idea that you are running a leaky company, as even a single reputational hit can be enormously damaging in the long-run. However, on the flip side of the coin, if you establish a reputation for reliability, it can be enormously beneficial to your business.