Cybersecurity threats aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, our annual security report illustrates that the number of daily website attack attempts increased by 59% between January 2018 and December 2018. This increase shows that cybercriminals are not only deploying attacks more often, but also using automation technology to do so. 

The good news? These attempts appear to be getting less successful. Of the 6 million individual websites that we analyzed, only 60,000 were actually compromised following an attack attempt, indicating that website security tools are getting better at fending off attacks.

Even still, it’s important for small businesses to ensure they identify appropriate security solutions and leverage them efficiently. Having an incident response plan to address several different cybersecurity threats and safety measures is an important step in this process.

It’s hard not to panic when you learn that a cybercriminal has hacked your network and stolen valuable company or customer data, and that’s why an incident response plan is so essential. Instead of having to formulate a plan of action in the heat of the moment, you can simply execute the steps your team carefully planned beforehand.

What Is Incident Response in Cybersecurity?

An incident response plan includes building and outlining a strategy for defending against cyberattacks, detecting possible attacks, responding in the event of an attack, and mitigating the effects after one occurs. Start by mapping out your defenses with the appropriate security solutions, such as a web application firewall or malware scanning and remediation solutions. 

You should also include employee security training, which is an essential part of defense and prevention. Security training helps ensure your team will be able to quickly detect a breach in the unfortunate instance that a cybercriminal makes it past your defenses. 

If you’re like many small businesses, you don’t have a dedicated security team, which means an automated malware scanning solution can help you spot a breach early and spring into action. Your incident response plan should also outline who’s in charge of responding to threats pinpointed by these automated scanners. Finally, it should identify the types of cybersecurity threats your small business is likely to encounter so you can protect yourself against them.

Common Cybersecurity Threats

While there are many different types of cybersecurity threats, there are a few common ones your plan needs to address specifically.

1. Phishing

A phishing attack is when cybercriminals send fraudulent emails to obtain sensitive information. This type of attack is on the rise. According to the “State of the Phish Report,” 83% of security professionals reported experiencing a phishing attack in 2018 (up from 76% in 2017).

Phishing attacks are also one of the most pervasive cybersecurity threats for small businesses because they’re easy and inexpensive for cybercriminals to deploy. Just take a look at your email’s spam folder, and it’s clear that sending out hundreds of thousands of emails is incredibly easy with the right software. Sometimes, it only takes one click for a hacker to infiltrate your network and steal your data.

2. SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

Many of today’s sites feature forms to collect customers’ contact information and store it in a database. These forms are convenient for conducting business, but they’re also a convenient way for hackers to inject malicious code into your website. With the right code, cybercriminals can steal information from your databases — or, in some cases, take full control of your site. SQLi attacks are common cybersecurity threats for small businesses that an incident response plan should cover.

3. Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting attacks are similar to SQLi attacks, but they target your website’s visitors as opposed to the website itself. By inserting scripts into user input fields on your website, cybercriminals can steal data about the browsing session, send users spam content, or even rewrite the content of the HTML page. These attacks target your customers, but they also negatively impact your business because of the loss of customer trust that’s associated with them.

Data breaches will cost your company, but they don’t have to mean the end. If you build up a strong defense and know exactly what to do when an attack occurs, you can put a stop to it and get back to conducting business as usual. The key is to create an incident response plan well before you ever need it.

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.