The internet is such a powerful medium of communication that brands can no longer ignore it if they mean to grow. From multinational companies to small businesses, everyone has a website. Which enables them to connect with their clients and even expand their reach. Having a virtual presence is almost as important to have a physical presence. It takes years of effort to successfully build a brand’s online presence. The brand’s official website will reflect its core values, and that’s why it is important that the website is secure.
Now, imagine if the website gets hacked and advertisements for illegal drugs are scattered throughout the site! This won’t just affect the brand’s reputation but may also lose potential customers. A few years ago, Amazon lost $4.8 million in sales after experiencing downtime of 40 minutes. Another time, Apple’s iTunes Store and App Store went down for 12 hours costing the company $25 million in sales.
With cybercrime on the rise, maintaining a secure online presence is not easy. Doesn’t matter if you have a big site or a small one. You can be targeted by hackers regardless of the size. You’d be surprised to learn that small and medium websites are the easier target. Because they often don’t make their site’s security seriously. Thus, even if you are a small brand that has a presence online, you must strive to make sure that your online identity is protected.
How Can Website Security Threats Ruin Your Brand?
Your website is the face of your brand online. Fortifying your website is a means to protect your brand. When a security breach occurs, it doesn’t just affect the site but also the brand in numerous ways. Identifying the threats that your website can face helps one take steps to mitigate the threat. Below, we have listed down some of the most common security threats. These can have a negative impact on a brand’s online presence.
Google, the world’s most popular search engine is committed to providing its users with a secure online experience. To achieve this, they spent millions of dollars of resources to identify insecure websites that can potentially cause damage to the visitors. They flag websites that have been hacked in a bid to provide Google users with a safe online experience. Once your site has been blacklisted, a user who finds your website through the Google search engine won’t be able to access your site. When they click on a link to your website, instead of loading your website page, Google shows them a warning page.
There are several reasons behind why a website is hacked. Perhaps hackers want to gain some sensitive information from your personal data, your website, or make modifications on your site that’ll send traffic from your site to a different site. Defacing your site will help hackers send some sort of message that’ll help them push their own propaganda. The reasons to exploit your website are many. If you don’t protect your site from being compromised, Google may blacklist your site that will affect your organic traffic.
Web Hosts May Suspend the Site
It’s painful for a website owner to wake up one fine day to find out that your web host has decided to suspend your WordPress website because it was hacked. When the web host finds out that a specific website is compromised, they often suspend the site. Particularly in shared hosting, the risk of infection is high. It’s a bit of a salt-in-wound situation where you are already dealing with a compromised site and then the web host decides to suspend you.
Note that suspending a website, however, is not the only way of dealing with the situation. A good web host company will take a number of steps before suspending your site. They’ll send email notifications detailing the exploits on your website and urge you to fix your site immediately (some web hosts offer paid cleanup for hacked sites). That’ll remind you that you are responsible for keeping your website secure before giving you are have a deadline by which you will need to clean your site or they’ll suspend your site.
In some cases, web hosts are quick to suspend sites because the same hosting server is being shared by a number of websites. Therefore, if malicious codes from your site find its way into the shared server, other websites on the server will very easily get infected. Visitors to a suspended website will see the white screen of death.
Slow Website Causes Loss of Visitors
If hackers are using your site to send spam emails, it might slow down your site. These activities will make your website slow, unresponsive, and unavailable. And everyone hates a slow site. Google hates it; site visitors hate it, even you’d hate if your site were loading slow. We have all clicked a link and saw the progress bar that doesn’t seem to move. Maybe some of us will refresh the site, but let’s be real, most of the time, we’ll just hit the back button. That way the website loses traffic as well as business opportunities.
Hacks Tarnish Brand Image
Image, one fine day a regular visitor comes to your site to find you selling or promoting illegal drugs. That’ll be a big hit on your reputation and brand image. Your site’s organic ranking will also be affected. It took you years to rank for keywords specific to your business and now the site will start ranking for keywords of illegal drugs. When web host find out that your site has been compromised, they’ll suspend your site, while Google will blacklist the site.
How to Protect Your Brand’s Online Presence?
Better be safe than sorry right! You must secure your business site today. There are several steps one can take to avoid falling victim to a security compromise and to make sure their site is secure.
Malware Security Services
Website security plugins like MalCare, protect a website. The service not only helps clean a hacked site but also protects it from further security breaches. There’s a powerful scanner that does not slow down your WordPress website, along with a one-click cleaner that wipes all traces of malware from your site. The firewall bans bad IPs as well as malicious login attempts made by bots. And the site hardening feature prevents any unauthorized personnel from gaining access to your site. Other notable security features include updating your WordPress websites from a single dashboard and real-time regular backups that you can have access to for up to 365 days.
Along with using a malware security service, you also need to run regular website security audit to learn what sort of security measures your website needs to take.
Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
Nowadays, the HTTPS connection is an internet security must for every website. Secure your websites with HTTPS because Google has started emphasizing security in a big way. Chrome browsers not using HTTPS are marked as insecure. What HTTPS does is that it allows secure passing of sensitive data like login credentials or payment information.
There are different types of SSL certificates available. Some are free while others are paid. You should select one based on your needs.
Be Aware of Good Security Practises
It’s important to actively learn and implement good website security practices to keep your web security top-notch. Protection of data especially user data is compulsory and increases liability. It is more important for e-commerce store owners. The recent controversy over the Facebook data scandal tells us how important it is to take steps towards managing user data properly. You might also want to consider getting code signing certificates such as ev code signing.
A secure website is a first and very important step towards securing your brand. Ignoring it will only cause more trouble later.