Innumerable organizations, corporate, individuals, societies and businesses, among others, have continually benefited from digital marketing approaches which have opened up the global market.
- In 2015, advertisers lost over $6.3 billion worldwide, aside from the intangible benefits of interaction with their customers as well as convenience and efficiency. http://www.mediaocean.com/digital-marketing-guide/fraud-security
However, as the entities are benefiting from these digital marketing approaches, so are the transactions involved increasing, both in number and in volumes transacted, and this draws in “leeches” – individuals and organizations that are seeking to steal information, cause destruction, trigger failures as well as steal money from user transactions and accounts.
These security compromises and attacks are on the rise with over 90% or organizations and 75% of small organizations having suffered a security breach in one way or another. These breaches come with implications to the organizations affected. These include:
- Pharma hack – attackers hack your sites (especially those built on CMS) and create an online shop at the back of your site, and index your pages to return ads for pharmaceutical products like Viagra. You lose business when clients access your site only to find that you changed your business to selling Viagra.
Also, Google blacklists your sites and you plummet from the searches and lose traffic that you may have paid for.
- Link manipulation –here, attackers insert links to your sites to manipulate their site’s ranking, or manipulate yours to link to other sites like pornography. Again, your site is penalized by Google by disappearing in the searches or being blacklisted, hence your business loses dearly.
- Redirected paid traffic – imagine you pay for Google Adwords, but you are still not gaining any traffic or it keeps reducing. This is a malicious attack where your site is redirected by the attacker to other sites.
- Malvertising – the attacker loads your sites with virus or malware payloads whereby when your customers access your sites, their computers and gadgets become infected with that virus or malware program, and who knows what damage may be caused to them by the programs. They never return to your sites again.
- Service interruption– most of the time, the attacks are identified when it is too late, when the damage has been done. Most signs include failure of some functionality in the compromised sites or complete grounding of the sites.
Attackers are always on the prowl for any vulnerability to exploit. It is prudent to seal these loopholes well in advance than to prevent an attack or try to recover from an attack, which is costly and the damage may be irreparable. To mitigate such effects and losses, you must take serious measures to secure your sites and other digital platforms. These include:
- Secure your domain
It is important to begin by securing your domain where your website will be hosted, because if the hosting plan is not secure enough, then securing anything else that runs on it will be futile.Ensure you have a hosting plan that clearly outlines to you the security parameters that are in place so that you know how secure your domain and website hosting is.
The same applies for other digital platforms like emails, social media, etc. Research widely before opening accounts and avoid creating accounts on platforms that have been found to suffer multiple security breaches and failures.
- Limit access
You must always limit who has access to some critical areas of your website, like the control panel, and ensuring that those who do are trusted and operate within set parameters and guidelines.
- Passwords and usernames
Always use strong and encrypted passwords that will be hard to crack even with the ever developing cracking tools that hackers may use. Set a password policy that must be used by your administrator, users and visitors if they need to.
- Set access levels
Define the access levels that users will operate on in your sites and other platforms, and set permissions to those access levels that will limit them to that level.
- Basic security
Put in place general security measures like:
- Hardening of the CMS and hosting environment – use a CMS that is robust and one that has been proven to withstand attacks.
- Hardening your infrastructure and networks – your computers, servers, networks and software need to be hardened such that they are not easily cracked and compromised.
- Training your users on online security as the systems are as secure as the least enlightened user, who is your weakest area of your systems.
- Continual improvement of the security parameters.
- Regularly backing up your site – this ensures that incase of an attack, you are able to restore the sites to a previous healthy and working state.
- Put firewalls in place to ward off any suspicious sites and scan all links to the sites you access for any suspicious redirection.
- Have an up-to-date antivirus system – updates ensure that the software’s virus and exploits database are up to date and so it would be able to capture any virus attack no matter how recent the virus release is.
- Monitoring for any suspicious activities and changes in your systems – you need to keep a keen eye on any change in the appearance and operations of your systems such that you are able to note any.
- Regularly update any themes and plugins.
- Removed any plugins or themes that are not being used by your systems and sites.
- Have in place a recovery plan should you get hacked.
Having good online security means that you will have good SEO and ranking as the search engines will trust the sites. You will also not lose business out of downtime or redirected traffic, etc.
Should you find security breaches after taking a security audit, you can consider contracting a SEO New York service company that will evaluate anything affecting your digital marketing platforms, and in addition, an ICT security company that will patch up any vulnerabilities and rectify the breaches before you suffer any further losses.