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When planning on creating a new website for your business, the first thing you think of is the design, but it should really be lower on your list. The first thing you should consider is security. When more people share sensitive information online, keeping your company and client information protected should be your main priority, not to mention it can lead to website downtime. Your website is your company’s business card and you don’t want to miss the opportunity for someone to see it and contact you.

In the last couple of years, there have been more and more large companies who have fallen prey to hackers and security embarrassments because of breaches. You may think that if a company invests millions of dollars into online security can’t get it right, how can I and why would I be a target?

Small and big businesses need to be more careful than ever, but just because you’re a small businesses doesn’t mean you’ll be able to slip between the cracks. Many small businesses have been attacked — 44%, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association, an advocacy group. The cost of an attack on a small company with less than 100 employees is a whopping $3.5 million, according to Ponemon Institute’s 2014 data breach study.

It just so happens that there are a couple effective ways you can keep your website and all of its information secure. Here are a couple things you can do today.

Secure Web Hosting

Despite how bad you want to put this on the backburner, it can save you from a data fire if you choose the right hosting company. Don’t be tempted by the cheapest thing out there, but focus on being insured with what is going to keep you and your customers safe while holding down the fort and keeping your site online and speedy. Proactive monitoring and maintenance can be your best defense against security breaches, downtime and hackers.

Security Certificate

If you’ve noticed, some website URLs begin with HTTPS:// instead of the normal HTTP://. What’s the difference? The HTTPS:// is a secure website, which means they have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate which creates a secure, encrypted connection between a browser and your server. This is especially important to have on your site if you regularly receive sensitive information from your website visitors, like an e-commerce website.

Besides securing your data, having a secure connection will get you on Google’s good side and improve your search rankings. Google wants to be secure and will reward you for maintaining a secure website too. 

Sweat the Small Stuff

To be sane at work, we tell ourselves not to sweat the small stuff, but the devil is in the detail with virus threats. Make sure your team makes a point of practicing safe internet practices by deleting unknown emails, avoid downloading suspicious files and password protecting your accounts. A small mistake can turn into a large one, but prevention is key.

Invest in Security

Even if you don’t have the resources to invest tens of thousands of dollars in high-tech security monitoring services, you can save yourself that much by investing in a professional firewall, anti-virus, and antimalware. Invest in insurance or review your current policy to make sure it covers cyber-attacks and your potential loss.

Before thinking up all of these creative designs, videos and flashy art on your new website, do the smart thing to keep your website secure. Your clients and your future self will thank you for it and happy they stuck with you and not the other guy who got hacked.

What are some of the security measures that have worked for you?