Website Security Breaches Are Serious Business

Written by Chuck Rutenberg

April 8, 2021

With more than half of all small businesses now suffering a website security breach in any given year, it’s a serious issue that businesses of all sizes must address by developing more rigorous strategies to fight cyber threats.

Forty-three percent of cyberattacks are aimed at SMBs. Yet research shows less than 15 percent of them are prepared to defend themselves. The costs of just a single data breach can go on for years, with U.S. SMBs facing the highest costs. These costs are typically related to:

  • Slow website security breach responses. Speedy responses (detecting and containing a breach in under 200 days) can prevent hackers from gaining access to multiple devices, different pieces of data, and a greater number of customer and business accounts.
  • Regulations and fines. Compliance has become a huge part of the cost of a breach. State and federal regulatory bodies take customer privacy extremely seriously, and fines are becoming increasingly steep.
  • Impact on stock prices. Publicly owned companies that leak highly sensitive data like credit card numbers have seen steep drops in share prices following a breach.

Many SMBs underestimate data breach costs, and they do so at the risk of survival. 

Just How Dangerous Are Website Security Breaches?

The average cost of a data breach for a small-to-medium-size business is just under $150,000. Yet when asked, most SMBs estimate their loss would be about $10,000, and only 20 percent believed the costs could surpass $100,000.

Flaws and loopholes in SMB websites, also known as web vulnerabilities, tend to happen in five ways:

  1. SQL injection is when a cyberattacker uses a malicious SQL code to access your web application’s database. SQL codes are command-and-control languages for the databases that most websites are built with.
  2. Broken authentication and session management breaches occur when hackers leverage a flaw in your site’s authentication mechanism, including unencrypted authentication credentials, predictable login credentials, and no session timeouts.
  3. DNS cache poisoning, aka DNS spoofing, is an attack on your website domain name system. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities to redirect users from your server to fake ones the hackers control.
  4. Distributed denial of services (DDoS) is a malicious attack the disrupts your website’s normal processes by drowning your server in a flood of traffic.
  5. Cross site scripting (XSS) attacks occur when hackers insert malicious code to infect your website. In XSS attacks, the end-user, not the website, is put at risk of an infected browser. Cybercriminals can then access the user’s browsing data and steal usernames, passwords, and other private data.

Some of the biggest website security breaches in the past 20 years have been at major companies like Adobe, eBay, Equifax, LinkedIn, and Marriott. But any company with a website that stores company data must protect itself from breaches that can severely impact its reputation and business survival.

Prevent Website Breaches

Keeping your website safe and secure from unauthorized individuals looking to access its data reduces your data breach risks and protects your business from cataclysmically high data breach costs. An up-to-date firewall is your best first defense in protecting your website. 

Since many SMBs lack the internal resources to prepare for and respond to attempted data breaches, it’s worth considering hiring an IT managed service provider to handle your network’s security. An MSP provides services like 24/7 network monitoring and immediate threat response, can quickly and easily scale with your business, and keeps your business from becoming another cyberattack statistic.

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