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If your website got hacked, how would it affect your small business?

Hacked_Website_Recovery

Website maintenance falls into two categories:

  • Content updates to keep it topical and current
  • Software updates to keep it secure and stable in an ever changing environment

The first one is usually given priority by most small business website owners and current content and regular updates are important for all sorts of reasons like search engine optimisation and keeping your customers up to date. But really, keeping your hosting and site software up to date should take priority in the interest of keeping your website secure.  

Quite simply ... if it's out of date the hackers will know the vulnerabilities and will know how to get in. All they have to do is find your site. Updates and patches 'plug those holes' and it's important that they're installed regularly.

Most small business owners mistakenly think that their website is low profile and unlikely to be a target and take a 'why would they bother with my little website approach?' I liken it to a situation I experienced a few years ago where my modest and ageing hatchback was broken into while parked in between two very high end and very shiny new cars. Quite simply mine was easier to get into. The other two were secure with alarms and far more up to date and sophisticated security.

Every website is potentially a target irrespective of it's size and out of date software just increases the risk because it's an easy target. Cyber crime is big business and the reasons for hacking into a website are many. If you want to know more about why, you can read about it in an earlier post 'Why do hackers hack?'.

What would happen if your website got hacked?

In the first instance your hosting company would probably take your site offline and notify you or your website administrator of some sort of violation of their web hosting terms and conditions. It is the website owners responsibility to keep the website secure ... not the hosting providers. Nearly all small business websites are hosted on a shared server and the hosting company has an obligation to all their other customers on that server and if your hacked website is posing a threat to other websites on that same server this is the most likely action they will take. You could even have your account permanently suspended.

What would the loss of your website mean to your business?

Only you can answer that question. But ask yourself:

  • What message does it convey to any customers who may visit your site? Perhaps looking for a phone number ... I do that all the time! Would they just go elsewhere?
  • What about any potential new customers who arrive at your site from a Google search and find an error message?
  • What about the time and effort of putting things right? How much will it cost to rectify apart from the impact of any potentially lost business?

Your probably have all sorts of business expenses throughout the year.

  • An accountant who in the long term probably saves you the money that you pay in fees. A worthwhile investment.
  • Tools to enable you to provide your services to your customers. I pay several annual subscriptions for things like Microsoft Office which is constantly updated with bug fixes and enhanced features. If I don't keep my subscription up to date I can't use the products.
  • You may have a company vehicle which we all know requires regular maintenance and servicing. If it's not roadworthy it will let you down or worse cause an accident.

These are just a few things that you possibly invest in for the sake of growing and maintaining your business. Shouldn't your website maintenance be part of that list? Keeping your hosting settings and CMS as up to date as possible should be an essential expense if your website is important to your business.

If having reached this point in the post you're still not sure about the importance of keeping things up to date, please get in touch for more advice 01494 537612.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

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