When setting up a website for your business, you should see it as a virtual extension of your existing high street store or physical office. You wouldn’t ever accept poor security for your shop or office, you would make sure that the doors are locked at the end of the day and that there was nowhere for intruders to get in, so why not do the same for your website? In the same way that the theft from or intrusion into your high street store or office would significantly disrupt your business, intruders breaking into your website will significantly disrupt your business.
Your approach to the security of your website should be one that looks to protect it from every angle. As a webmaster, you should have complete confidence that there is no method of attack that hackers can use that would be successful. It is important to invest in the security of your website from the outset for a number of reasons, if your business is to be successful online, some of which we will now look at.
Protecting and maintaining your brand and identity
If your business website was to be compromised by malicious attackers then the perception of your brand is at risk. There have been many high profile hacks in the past 12 months that have severely damaged the image of particular brands, such as Sony Pictures, which was compromised by hackers thought to have been North Korean in origin. However the real troubles begin when customer data is accessed and/or stolen since this this will severely damage customer confidence and opens your business up to potential lawsuits. However, when the correct security measures in place then you really won’t have anything to worry about.
For complete website security that can protect your brand and identity, the first thing to check is that there aren’t any exploitable vulnerabilities in your website. The best way to check for any security holes is to utilise a website scanning application that can check for vulnerabilities that could be exploitable through common means such as SQL and code injections. It is also good practice to be checking for common threats to visitors such as malware, viruses and Trojans since infected third-party websites are often used to launch attacks. Once you are confident that there are no exploitable security holes, it is time to make sure that your customer data is secure. Customer data should remain encrypted at all times. Encrypted data is of no use to malicious attackers if they gain access to it and because it is a common practice, the chances are that your customers will expect their data to be stored and handled in this manner by default.
For customers to have confidence in your website and brand, it is a good idea to demonstrate that steps have been taken to protect their information. Without any evidence that their personal information will be held and processed in a secure manner, potential customers will most likely be unwilling to enter their personal details or credit card information because it is at a higher risk or being stolen or intercepted.
There are several outwardly facing security measures that can be implemented to boost customer confidence. The first and most obvious choice is an SSL certificate; this is one of the most common security measures that is taken and is arguably the most obvious because of the browser padlock and green address bar that can be displayed in browsers. Google is also giving precedence to sites that use SSL certificates, so the investment could also be seen as one to boost your SEO efforts. A website seal can also be used to boost customer confidence. Using the Norton website seal as an example, this is provided to you once a scan of your website has been completed; the seal is regarded as offering a high level of security for visitors when they are accessing your website. According to Symantec’s own research, 90% of online shoppers are most likely to continue with an online purchase if a retailer’s website is displaying the Norton Secured Seal.
To summarise, complete website security is essential for your online business in order to protect your brand and identity, as well as to solidify the confidence that customers place not only in your website, but your business as a whole. Failure to employ proper security measures could lead to your business website becoming compromised or being attacked, both of which are scenarios that any business will want to avoid because of the detrimental impact that they will have on customer trust and revenues. Investment in complete website security will reduce the threat of attack against your website drastically, and by demonstrating your positive attitude towards security with a website seal and strong SSL certificate, you may even see an increase in customer and order numbers.