5 Reasons to Think About Your Website Security

Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in recent years and now use multiple techniques to hijack websites. However, regular maintenance of your site can lower your chances of being hacked. Backing up your data frequently, carrying out a website audit and updating old, outdated strings of code could prevent you from losing valuable data. You should also monitor your site for malware, viruses, and errors to stop hackers from accessing your data. Failing to do this could have a massive impact on your business. Here are five reasons why website security is crucial.

1. Valuable Information Could Be Exposed

Hackers can access your system and steal information like names, email addresses, passwords, purchase histories, and credit card details. That's why it's important to safeguard your website, so you can keep valuable customer data from cybercriminals. More than 169 million personal data records were disclosed in 2015, and there were 781 publicized data breaches in various sectors, such as business, education and healthcare.

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2. Your Customer Relationships Are at Risk

Some of the biggest online security incidents in recent years include the Target data breach in 2013, where millions of credit card numbers were exposed to hackers. As a result, consumer trust in the brand was compromised. In 2014, 22 percent of customers who were affected by the breach said they shopped at Target less frequently, while 13 percent said they no longer shop with the retailer.

3. Your Business Relationships Are at Risk

An infected website poses a significant security risk to other businesses, too. Malware spreads quickly and could target anyone who visits your website, including important suppliers and clients. Security flaws on your website could result in the loss of important contracts, which could impact your bottom line. This is more common than you might think. There were more than 1 million Web attacks each day in 2015, and nearly 75 percent of all legitimate websites have unpatched security vulnerabilities.

4. You Might Have to Pay a Penalty

If a data breach arises because you failed to protect customer data, you could receive a stiff financial penalty. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has the power to issue millions of dollars in fines — something that could cripple your business. If you work in healthcare, you need to be aware of the HITECH Act, too. This piece of legislation has fortified privacy and security rules, and you could now receive an annual maximum fine of $1.5 million for each data violation that isn't corrected.

5. Data Breaches Are Expensive

A data breach could cost you a significant amount of money. The average global cost for each lost or stolen data record that contains confidential and sensitive information is $154, according to research. In the healthcare sector, this amount is even higher, with each lost or stolen record costing $363. Moreover, the priciest data breaches occur in the United States, with each compromised record costing businesses $217.

Eighty-six percent of all websites have at least one security vulnerability, according to a 2015 study, putting customers, clients and other businesses at risk. Failing to properly protect your website could result in financial penalties and stolen information, and jeopardize customer and business relationships. This is why you should invest in website security and protect your data.

Download the Website Cleanup Worksheet for more website security and clean up ideas.

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