When it comes to data breaches, we tend to hear only about the “big ones” — from Target to Equifax to, most recently, Wipro. S­o it’s easy to see why people assume these kinds of events exclusively happen to large corporations. After all, who would want to go after the minnows when there are so many whales up for grabs?

Being lulled into this false sense of security is dangerous for small to midsize businesses. SMBs are just as likely to be hit by cyberattacks as their larger counterparts, and when cyberattacks do land, they’re less likely to bounce back. Even a cursory glance at some small business data breach statistics makes that clear: Following a cyberattack, 60% of SMBs end up going out of business. And every minute of downtime following a small business data breach costs $427.

What’s worse, as cybercrime advances, we’re seeing more sophisticated avenues of attack emerge. Symptomless attacks like backdoor files, shells, and malicious JavaScript code are more difficult to detect and remove completely, increasing the chances of reinfection and making recovery challenging.

For SMBs, it’s not enough to cross your fingers and do damage control after the fact. Now is the time to take small business security threats seriously.

4 Easy Steps to Boost Small Business Data Security

Of course, saying you need to take website security more seriously and actually doing it are two different things. Thankfully, securing your website isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here’s how to protect your website in four easy steps.

1. Patch common website vulnerabilities. There are a variety of weak points in a website’s code that, if left untouched, can result in a small business data breach. These vulnerabilities are often widely known and easy to exploit — cybercriminals can even find many of them using bots.

The good news is that most vulnerabilities already have patches. Make it a habit to check for updates and patches on a weekly basis, or use a website security vulnerability scanner and automated patching system that can do most of the work for you. This type of external website security is a small step that can have a huge impact.

2. Use only what you need. Your cybersecurity website’s risk increases with every feature you add. To reduce the amount of internet security threats, strip your site down to only the plug-ins and features you absolutely need. Make sure to fully uninstall everything else. Plug-ins that are inactive but remain installed can lead to vulnerabilities.

3. Block automated attacks. The ease with which bots can sniff out website security vulnerabilities means that no business is too small to fall victim to a cyberattack. Fortunately, as easy as these bots are to employ, they’re just as easy to block with a web application firewall.

4. Find and remove malware quickly. The longer a cyberattack goes undetected, the more expensive it will be for you. So take care of malware as swiftly as you can. Luckily, there are tools out there to make removal a cinch.

Malicious JavaScript code, for instance, is a common method of attack, but JavaScript malware detection is easy to perform with a variety of tools. Use a website scanner to look for and remove known malware on a daily basis. This way, you can catch threats like a backdoor file or a JavaScript injection attack and minimize the damage they cause.  

Don’t become just another data breach statistic. Instead, become a shining example of website security. When you stay vigilant and employ tools to keep you safe, peace of mind — at least when it comes to your website — is much closer than you think.

Monique Becenti is a product and channel marketing specialist at SiteLock, a cloud-based website security provider currently protecting more than 12 million websites globally. Monique is passionate about improving the customer experience for all. SiteLock’s combination of dedicated research and developmental efforts, aggressive product road maps, and access to a massive global data set make the company a leading innovator in web security.