Security is paramount to business websites first and foremost because a website is the modern business card.

Today’s business websites are often much more than just the face of their business. With registration portals capturing PII (Personally Identifiable Information) such as names, phone numbers, as well as passwords which many users continue to reuse on multiple sites. Medical Offices for example may utilize portals for intake forms as well as communication with patients about their appointments, medications, sharing images of scans, and other health information. A breach of such information has a wide range of implications, including the necessity for incident response, forensic investigation, disclosure statements to the affected parties, and possible regulatory penalties if the resulting forensics turns up compliance violations.

There are other risks associated with a breach as well, ones that are difficult, to sum up in terms of monetary damage. One such risk is the reputational harm that comes from a data breach, especially one that is not promptly detected. The resulting loss of trust by clients and the community in which your business works, often lasts long after the security issues are corrected.

No one wants to be a victim of a breach and users are quick to shun doing business with companies that are breached, especially if that breach is not disclosed by the company but by the hackers in an attempt to extort the company for money.

If we think of websites as web applications instead, it makes it easier to imagine how much data can be contained within. Most modern websites are in fact complex web applications, storing a myriad of data, and tying back to ERP or CRM functions that are critical to the business’s primary revenue. Without proper security, maintenance, and monitoring, attackers can install tools such as credit card skimming malware to steal the credit card info of your members and guests. Because such an attack would require relatively few server resources, the compromised website would not have any tell-tale signs of compromise, allowing the attacker to maintain their grasp over the data indefinitely. An example of this attack vector is a WordPress e-commerce site, which can use upwards of 30 plugins just to coordinate the order processing mechanisms. Each of those plugins runs code with the opportunity for exploitation, especially if the plugins are not updated when vendors release patches.

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