According to recent research, malware currently infects an estimated 12.8 million websites globally. These infections make sites vulnerable to takeovers, defacement and data breaches from bad actors looking to tarnish site reputations and turn a profit – and the costs can be devastating for businesses. In fact, the average data breach now costs businesses $1.9 million, which is enough to significantly impact any organization – regardless of size.

To avoid the harmful impacts of a cyberattack, businesses should get proactive about protecting their site now, before the damage is done. Here are our top 4 cybersecurity tips your business can deploy now to get proactive on preventing data breaches, site defacement, DDoS attacks and other threats that put your sites at risk.

Stop threats before they spread with automated website scanning and malware removal

The first step to implementing a proactive approach to cybersecurity is stopping threats before they spread or cause damage. Because cybercrime is big business (and the fastest-growing type of crime), new attack methods are always arising. With the ever-evolving threat landscape, it can be virtually impossible to keep up with the latest attack method.

Some current cybercriminal activity that could be impacting your website includes:

• Malware that attacks visitors, leading to search-engine blacklisting and decreased site speed.

• Cross site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection (SQLi) vulnerabilities that can lead to stolen data. For example, formjacking, a new cyberattack being compared to ATM skimmers, is a popular method among bad actors. By inserting a simple piece of code into an ecommerce site, formjackers can steal customers’ personal identifiable information (PII) as they enter it.

• By simply sharing the same IP address with a spammer, sites can be flagged in spam databases. When sites are flagged, the business can experience email deliverability issues when contacting their customers, such as being blocked or sent to their spam folder.

To help protect your business from these cyber threats, you can use automated website scanning and malware removal solutions. Daily website security scans check your site for new malware and vulnerabilities, notifying you immediately if any issues are found. When an attack succeeds, automated malware removal can take care of it quickly, before it causes expensive, brand-damaging problems on your website. Additionally, using a spam scanner helps to ensure your site is not listed on spam databases, which could impact your ability to communicate with customers. These scans can also notify you to “bad neighbors” that may be sharing your IP address to help you take action before being blacklisted.

Block cybercriminals and bad bots with a web application firewall

Our second tip for taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity is using a web application firewall (WAF) to block malicious traffic, like cybercriminals and bad bots. Without this barrier of protection around your site to keep malicious traffic out, cybercriminals can launch harmful cyberattacks, such as a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. Why are DDoS attacks so important to prevent? In the past, these attacks were more of an annoyance than a serious threat, but this has changed. DDoS attacks are growing in both severity and frequency with 83% of organizations being attacked through this method since 2018.

Using a WAF ensures that legitimate traffic like your customers are able to access your site, while swarms of bots and cybercriminals get shown the door. By fine-tuning the firewall to suit your traffic patterns, you can ensure customers don’t get shut out of your site mistakenly during busy shopping seasons while also helping to protect your site from DDoS and other attacks.

Prepare for disaster recovery with Website Backup

Along with taking proactive measures to protect your website, another important tip for proactive cybersecurity is preparing for disaster recovery. By implementing website backup and restore tools, you can prevent losing thousands of hours of your website content in a single moment due to a cyberattack or another unexpected incident.

If a cyberattack corrupts or wipes out your website files or the database, your business risks suffering permanent damage unless you have a way to recover them. Additionally, cybercriminals aren’t the only reason you need regular site backups. Human error can take a site down with a single misaimed click or an update that includes code errors.
Whatever the cause, having a recent backup version and a way to restore it with just one click can keep your site up and running while you work to solve the underlying problem.

Make cybersecurity awareness part of your company culture

In addition to protecting your business through technology, another important aspect of proactive cybersecurity is ensuring your employees are prepared for the inevitable cyber threats coming their way. The fact is that cybercriminals look for any area of weaknesses within an organization to attack – and human nature is an easy vulnerability to exploit. For this reason, employees are often cybercriminals number one target when looking to attack a business. Research shows that employee errors are responsible for more than half of business data breaches, but only 3% of people can spot a sophisticated phishing email.

Security awareness training and phishing simulations can help prepare your people to spot potential cyber threats like phishing emails, so they can report them and help prevent exposing your business and customers to damage. Your training program should also emphasize the importance of unique, strong passwords for each work account.

It’s important to note that cybersecurity education isn’t a one-time event; it’s a process. Ongoing education and regular communication about security best practices is crucial to create a cybersecure culture that can help protect the business from even the most sophisticated cybercriminals.

Get proactive now to protect your business

Staying ahead of security threats can save your business from expensive attacks that disrupt operations, damage your brand and cost you money. By taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity with the tips in the blog, your business will be one step closer to getting ahead of security threats before the damage is done.