Did you know that 32% of UK businesses have experienced a cyber security breach or attack in the past year? Broken down, this amounts to a massive:
- 2.39 million instances of cyber crime
- 49,000 instances of fraud as a result of cybercrime in the last 12 months
These startling figures were revealed by the UK Government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2023. It reported that the average cost of an attack was £1,100, rising to £4,960 for medium and large businesses.
The good news is, you can safeguard your own B2B business website against cyber criminals.
To get started, follow these simple tactics:
- Protect your website with embedded security features, like an SSL certificate, a firewall and daily malware scanning (which are all included in GoDaddy’s Website Security).
- Ensure you’re using strong passwords that include a mix of special characters, numbers, and upper and lowercase letters. Password managers can make this easy.
- Restrict administrative rights to a trusted few.
- Commit to carrying out software updates as soon as they are available.
- Carry out regular data backups.
- Brush up on the signs of a phishing attack, in which emails, texts phone calls or social media messages that seem to come from reputable sources try to get your employees to reveal passwords or private information.
Of course, getting all of the above in order can feel like yet another thing to add to your Nile-long to-do list. But the stats show that businesses ignore cyber hygiene at their peril.
7 reasons to do it now
Still feel like you haven’t got time to address cyber security for your business website just yet?
Here are seven reasons why you have to prioritize security for your B2B business today.
1. Protect your brand reputation
Put simply, cyber security breaches don’t look good. They can make a company seem everything from unlucky to actively negligent.
This in turn can lead to a dip in customer trust and, resultingly, sales.
In 2020, easyJet lost the personal data of 9 million customers as well as 2,200 credit card details in a data breach. The budget airline faces an £18 billion class-action lawsuit over the data theft (up to £2,000 per impacted customer).
2. Save your bottom line
A long list of costs can accrue as a result of a cyber security scam.
If your website goes offline, sales can be lost. If reputation is damaged, sales can drop further.
It can also cost money to rebuild after a cyber-attack, especially if new systems, tools, and upgrades are needed to prevent the breach from happening again.
Enterprise companies may also see their share prices drop. According to a 2021 Comparitech study, “the average share price of a company disclosing a data breach [typically] falls by 7.27 percent. But the full impact may not be felt until 14 market days or more have passed.”
There can also be legal fees to fork out for, should customers decide to take legal action against you.
3. Protect data
Very often, cyber security attacks involve the theft of sensitive data such as:
- Banking details
The goal is to sell this information to thieves on the dark web.
The data encryption provided by SSL Certificates like those provided by GoDaddy can help deter some of them, as it makes your website a harder target.
Under the Data Protection Act of 2018, businesses of all sizes — whether B2B or B2C — have an obligation to comply with data protection principles. This includes ‘handling data in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage.’
The Information Commissioner’s Office states: Keeping data safe often includes:
- Making sure you’ve got up-to-date anti-virus software
- Being careful not to leave any business laptop unattended
- Using strong passwords
- Training your staff so they know how to spot and respond to a threat
4. Prevention of website vandalism
For many business owners, great thought goes into creating a website — everything from its layout and colours to the precise words and images used on it.
In some cyberattacks, hackers can deface a website, replacing content with their own alarming messages and pictures.
In 2018, an NHS website was the target of a website defacement attack. The hacker replaced the NHS content with the words:
Hacked by AnoaGhost – Typical Idiot Security.
#together laugh in ur security since 2k17.
Website vandalism is not only time-consuming to repair, but it can also be incredibly demoralising. Imagine having to relaunch your site from scratch all over again!
Of course, if you have backups of your website, much of the damage can be undone. By having created backups of your company and customer data, you can revert to the latest copy.
5. Protection against malware
Malware is a collective term for malicious software such as:
Malware is designed to damage, disrupt or gain unauthorized access to computer systems.
In January 2023, The Royal Mail experienced a major ransomware attack that led to the suspension of international shipping.
The hackers requested an $80 million ransom for restoring operations to normal.
The Royal Mail declined to pay, but a fight ensued that caught the attention of the world’s press, leading to negative publicity. All told, the British postal service company spent £10m on ransomware remediation.
6. Safeguarding your search engine rankings
A compromised website can have a severe impact on your search engine rankings. Search engines like Google penalise infected sites by pushing them lower in the search results, or by removing them altogether.
7. Comply with regulations
Various industries have regulations in place to ensure the safety of customer data.
For instance, businesses dealing with payment card information must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Non-compliance can result in hefty fines, legal consequences, and loss of business licenses.
Taking the cyber security precautions outlined here is essential for businesses of all types and sizes. Even if you own a microbusiness, you need to protect yourself and your brand from potential threats.
Falling victim to an attack can:
- Damage your business reputation
- Ruin relationships with partners
- Make your sales plummet
- Destroy the website you worked so hard to develop
- Make your hard-earned SEO rankings nosedive
- Get you into hot water legally
However, it’s not just your business that a cyber attack impacts. It affects your customers, too. Becoming a victim of a cyber attack can trigger psychological responses in them, too, leading to everything from anxiety to feelings of vulnerability.
So, while robust website security may require an investment of time, effort and resources it is a non-negotiable aspect of running a successful B2B business.
This was posted in Bdaily’s Members’ News section