Manny Gonzalez, CCNA, CISSP
Director of Web Solutions
First impressions are everything. For a majority of companies and organizations today, your website is where your target audience first goes to experience your brand or even transact with you.
If you’ve ever invested in a website, you’ve probably taken great care in considering the graphic look of the website, the navigation and user-friendly features as well as rich content to support search engine optimization strategies. If you’ve made this investment, then you understand that a strong website presence is vital to brand value, even vital to brand survival.
That said, protecting one of your company’s most vital assets is your top priority, am I right?
If you hesitated in answering with any other response than a resounding, “yes,” I encourage you to become educated and engaged in protecting your website against digital villains who are not just targeting big companies, but are unleashing new weapons every day on businesses of all sizes, left vulnerable without the proper protections in place.
So what are the vulnerabilities, and how can we gear up against cyber threats?
First, you need the right tools. Security modules serve as an early warning system to detect malware, spam and other security issues that threaten your website including domain hijacking, where your website traffic is redirected to another website. Often times, the hackers will redirect you to fake version of legitimate sites with the goal of stealing your credentials including banking information or even authentication codes.
Additionally, DDoS or distributed-denial-of-service attacks occur when a targeted website is flooded with millions of requests in order to bring it town. This type of attack can cost a small business as much as $120,000, and big businesses have seen financial loss totaling more than $2 million. The biggest price – loss of consumer trust.
Harmful or malicious software known as malware includes spyware, adware, phishing and viruses, and often access your device via email or the Internet. Anti-malware or malware removal tools are critical.
Another valuable security measure is a firewall that places rules on incoming and outgoing traffic to protect networks, servers, websites and individual computers. This ensures that incoming data is filtered, with the goal of blocking any threats from attacking the site. A proxy, or middleman solution, passes along good traffic while stopping the bad traffic to your site. Additionally, firewall tools such as virtual patching and virtual hardening engines allow for real-time mitigation of threats without impact to the website.
However, traditional firewalls don’t address the cloud, giving cloud customers big concerns as experts look to define best practices in secure cloud computing. We offer CloudProxy, which is a Website Application Firewall (WAF) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) all bundled into one. One of the tools that Priority Marketing recommends for our web clients is an SSL Certificate to provide secure, encrypted communication between a website and an internet browser. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, the protocol that provides the encryption. SSL Certificates are typically installed on pages that require end-users to submit sensitive information over the internet such as credit card information or passwords.
Even if your website is not used for transactional purposes and does not require forms or submittal of personal information, cyber attacks are a real threat for all businesses, regardless of your size and purpose. Leaving your company vulnerable to attackers not only compromises your website, but the impact can be long-lasting and expensive, especially when you consider the impact on your operations and brand integrity.