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Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: Why Every Business Needs Security in a Web Host

Fri, 18th December 2015, 16:56

The past two years have seen a major shift in the way we approach our holiday shopping agendas. While most people shopped in brick and mortar stores in the past, this year we are seeing approximately three quarters of shoppers doing their holiday gift shopping online, with only 3% saying that they plan to shop in physical stores for their presents. If you’re a small to medium sized business owner with an online store, you’ve probably already seen the effects in your online sales as customers prepare for this holiday season.

But along with the increase in online sales traffic has came an increase not only in bandwidth usage but in cyber crime as well, calling for an increased need for cyber security awareness among online store owners. Cyber security has become a booming, highly in demand business, with some cyber security professionals pulling almost $5,000 daily for their unique services. Such news can make a small to medium business owner cringe, knowing they could never afford such a luxury. Does this mean that as a small to medium sized business owner you shouldn’t be concerned with securing your online store since you can’t afford such a professional to secure your traffic?

Would you avoid locking a physical store and setting up a security camera just because you can’t afford a security guard?

Just like smaller physical stores have some more affordable security options available, so should you as an online store owner through your web host. Many business owners are so concerned with the bottom priceline and stability in their web host that they forget to check for security options. Others may not even be aware that there ARE web hosts with security options available to their customers! And most may not know what to look for in a web host’s security profile.

Looking for a secure web host is a lot like looking for a good system administrator. Many of the same principals apply. The number one concern is backups. Does your web host offer daily incremental backups of your website? This is important for if your website becomes compromised by malware so you can quickly and easily restore it to its original state without loss of data.

Of course, you also would want to know that your system administrator isn’t hosting any malicious websites alongside yours, so another important factor to consider with your web host is if they carefully screen customers during the registration process to ensure they are who they say they are. They may do this through various means of screening, collecting proof of your identity, and/or calling you before setting up your account.

A good system administrator that’s concerned with their employer’s online security will regularly conduct penetration testing both from inside and outside of the network to make sure there are no leaks. Make sure to ask if your web host also does this. Another important question to ask is if they are using a clustered firewall which only allows traffic in the network that is explicitly requested from within its walls.

Another thing you would want to make sure your system administrator is doing is using network monitoring tools and antivirus software to alert them of any suspicious network traffic and files. Does your web host employ security personnel that utilize network monitoring and antivirus tools to keep a watch on their network 24/7? Are they quick to respond to threats and take them offline for repairs?

Just because you can’t afford a cyber security professional doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider security when looking for a web host. Any extra cost involved in ensuring you have a web host with your website’s security in mind is easily compensated for tenfold by the peace of mind knowing that your store, customers, and assets are safe from financial losses. This holiday season, give yourself and your customers a gift that keeps on giving by making sure you have a website that is secure from online cyber crimes.

About the author: Jonquil McDaniel is an IT professional in Florida that has been writing and tinkering with technology both personally and professionally her entire life. She has an infectious enthusiasm for all things technical; a gift for creative problem solving and communications of all kinds; and a warm, positive disposition that infiltrates every word she writes.