Everyone was gushing on how easy things became when the internet entered their lives.
They could talk online. They could go shopping online. They could order food online. They could book movie tickets online. They could work online. And what not? Almost everything they imagined, they can now do it online.
As the internet encroached more and more on our day to activity, we became complacent. As significant chunk of our activities are shifting online, it accumulated massive data on the websites we accessed. Initially, it all appeared innocuous. However, recent developments and incidents have made the threat bare.
We have reached a decade where the masses are quite cautious and skeptical about the online world. Considering the various data breaches in the past few years, this is an understandable reaction.
A study by the University of Maryland found that ‘every 39 seconds, there is a hacker attack on some website.’ Additionally, as per Varonis, ‘only 5 percent of companies in the world have their data protected adequately against breaches!’
Data breach poses a considerable threat not only for the customers but also to the website on which the breach happens. The consumers face the danger of their personal information getting leaked, and the site stands to lose its credibility and standing. Anyone working in the digital sphere knows how nearly impossible it is to recover from a tarnished reputation online.
In case you have an online store as well as a brick-and-mortar store, it is just as essential for you to secure your website as it is to secure your shop. Here is why.
Hacked websites target customers
When shopping in an online store, customers have to provide several details, most of them personal. In the case of big e-commerce websites like Amazon, these details include name, address, and credit card number. If this sensitive data gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for identity theft and phishing.
Additionally, if you leave your website unprotected, and it falls into the wrong hands, hackers can do more than access the available information of customers. They can further infect the website with malicious software that can then be used to redirect your site traffic and also affect the computers of your target audience.
In other words, your customers have a lot to lose if they visit an unprotected site. This is why the safety of a website is one of the key factors that Google evaluates while raking a website on SERP.
Loss of revenue and reputation
Securing your website is vital to maintain a steady stream of revenue as well as to safeguard the brand’s reputation.
Regardless of how great your product is, unless your mode of delivery is secure, people will not seek your solutions. How can people gauge whether a given website is protected or not? Well, when your website is presented to a visitor, a green lock is present at the side of the search bar, which is a sign of a protected website.
In case your website isn’t protected, a red ‘not protected’ notification can be seen. Considering the rise in data breaches in the past few years, the mere sight of the red warning is enough for visitors to abandon the site. This leads to a loss in revenue as well as a reputation.
Search engines require website protection
According to Internet Live stats, over 40,000 searches are made on Google every second. To ensure that you get traffic on your website or online shop, only being present on the platform isn’t enough. You must be present on top of the relevant searches. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Algorithms for determining the search engine ranking of websites may differ from search engine to search engine. Yet, the fact remains that all of them gauge a website’s quality on the level of security it has.
For instance, let’s say people search for a leather jacket online store. In the SERP, the results that appear will be of the websites that are optimized and maintain a high level of security. This is done to ensure that visitors have a safe experience online.
So, for those of you who rely on a website for revenue, you must secure your website via SSL protection and two-factor authentication.
Website clean-up is quite expensive
A common reason why small online businesses don’t invest in protecting their websites is because of the initial expenditure attached to it. It is a gross misconception. Protecting a website will cost you less than recovering your website in the event of a malicious attack.
Therefore, if you are looking to cut some corners, website security isn’t the place to do it. As per a research conducted by Acunetix, over 84 percent of websites have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. A quality service provider would be able to detect these weaknesses and manually clean the site.
Rather than bearing the expense of cleaning your website and then protecting it after an attack, it is better to secure it at the start and avoid the extra cost.
Preventing website from getting blacklisted
Google doesn’t just rank an unsecured webpage at the bottom; it also blacklists them! Every day, at least 10,000 suspicious sites are quarantined by Google.
It occurs when the search engine reflects a warning message: “This site might harm your computer” to visitors when they try to access your website. Such warnings are enough to prompt site visitors to abandon the website.
Google further prevents traffic to the website by not showing it in the search results. This also reduces the organic traffic by 95 percent, hence causing a massive dent in the revenue stream of your shop.
This doesn’t just occur if your site is unsecured. Instead, blacklisting can also occur as a consequence of an unsecured website.
Google also blacklists websites completely after they suffer from a malware attack. To regain a position on Google’s search engine list, you must first clean up your site and then take security measures to prevent hacking.
Verdict: Secure your website today
Getting a lock at the beginning of your website’s URL is as critical as putting a lock on your shop. As more and more businesses are switching online, it is imperative for every website to be secured.
It should also be remembered that spies and hackers are always evolving their modus operandi. Therefore, only securing a website once isn’t enough. It is equally critical to constantly evaluate the security features and update them for any loopholes.
Once you do so, structurally, you are ready to reach a wider audience. You must then work on your marketing efforts to gain a respectable market share.