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Online security survey: Is your website protected against hackers?

By Thomas Costello - April 12, 2017

For small businesses, protecting your website as well as keeping customer data safe is often an incredibly complex task which depends on a great number of factors. The first unfortunate reality is that every website is at risk, with websites facing an average of 8,000 attacks per year. The second is that there’s no such thing as ‘too small’ to hack.

Issues involving online security are often in the news and are concernings for businesses of all sizes, but even more so for small businesses who’s reputation can take years to build but just minutes to destroy.

Are small business protected?

To better understand small businesses attitudes to online security, we surveyed small businesses earlier this year. The survey took responses from 13,000 UK small businesses between February and March 2017.

The results do highlight the challenges that small businesses face. Website and data security is an incredibly complex issue, but one that is noted as incredibly important to get right. Despite this, tens of thousands of small businesses in the UK have no internet security measures when it comes to handling credit card details.

One fifth of those e-commerce businesses were not aware of the security measures that they had and 10% have taken no website security precautions whatsoever. The research also looked at the long-term thinking of small businesses; 50% said that they did not have a plan in place if their website was hacked.

Further to this, the results showed that one in five e-commerce websites were unaware of who even handles their website security with nearly one in ten of businesses saying they were unaware if their website had been hacked or not.

Internet security is incredibly important than ever to protect sensitive credit card and data, especially given the fact that goods are increasingly purchased online. A 2016 report published by Get Safe Online and Action Fraud estimated that over £1 billion was lost by British businesses to online crime.

What can small businesses do?

An online presence is vital for small businesses, in 2015 e-commerce sales in the UK reached £533 billion, but keeping customers safe requires a team effort. Businesses can easily implement simple, yet crucial, security measures, which can help keep them safe against online attacks. By continuously updating online programmes, regularly changing passwords and installing the latest security products, Britain’s small business owners can stay secure and continue to thrive.

The costs of a breach

As well as the reputational hit a business takes after a breach, there is a considerable financial risk. According to IBM, the average cost per stolen record is as much as $154. Even more concerning, the National Cybersecurity Alliance says that roughly 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months of the breach.

How to stay safe

Website security is a complex issue, taking in plenty of factors – that includes the kind of website you have, the passwords you use, and, of course, the reliability of your website host. However, being secure is simple and straightforward. Therefore, it is vital that business owners employ good password practices, install a website security product and keep all software up to date. If you are having trouble, there is a free guide here.

What else do the stats say?

  • 13% have no security measures in place.
  • 26% answered ‘I am not sure’ when asked who they think handles their website security.
  • 66% do not have a response plan in place, if/ when a hack or breach occurs.
  • 30% use SSL Certificates.
  • 73% use anti-virus software on PC(s).
  • 9% have been hacked.
  • 13% answered ‘I don’t know’ when asked ‘Has your website ever been hacked?’
  • 43% believe their hosting provider handles their security.

E-commerce findings (1,299 respondents who defined their websites as to sell products/services directly to customers, including bookings or reservations, through online payment):

  • 10% have no security measures in place.
  • 17% answered ‘I am not sure’ when asked who they think handles their website security.
  • 53% do not have a response plan in place, if/ when a hack or breach occurs.
  • 50% use SSL Certificates.
  • 75% use anti-virus software on PC(s).
  • 8% have been hacked.
  • 9% answered ‘I don’t know’ when asked ‘Has your website ever been hacked?’
  • 53% have no response plan in place if/ when a website hack or breach occurs.
  • 44% believe their hosting provider handles their security.

If you are one of the 66% of UK small businesses without a breach response plan, our partners SiteLock may be able to help. The cost of a website security breach can cause significant financial losses for a small business and reputation damage, site protection is always the much cheaper option. At 123 Reg we’re always doing everything we can to make sure your website is secure. And we urge you to do the same. A security breach can undo years of hard work in a matter of minutes. So let’s work together to keep the hackers at bay.