COVID-19 and your business: how to protect your website

With Welsh businesses moving online due to Covid-19, being able to compete digitally is more important than ever.

While lockdown has limited footfall to bricks-and-mortar shops, retailers across the UK have adapted to keep cash flowing, with a third upgrading their websites and accepting new payment methods, according to a study by Barclays.

But as the world shifts online, so too has the attention of malicious cyber criminals looking to exploit a global pandemic. Whether it’s posing as HMRC or netting login details, criminals are using the cover of Covid to attack, making it more important than ever to secure your business.

But if you’re one of the Welsh businesses selling online, how do you protect your website? Here are a few of the key considerations…

Get an SSL certificate

We’ve all seen the little padlock that appears next to a website address. But what does it mean? These padlocks show that your connection to a website is secure – i.e. any data sent between you and the site (passwords, payment details and more) are kept private.

This is because the website has an up-to-date SSL certificate. These show that the website belongs to who you think it does, plus it encrypts data that travels between the website and a user. Browsers like Google Chrome will flag up if your SSL certificate is out-of-date or not installed; having one will make customers more confident that they can buy from you safely.

Many website providers or online shop platforms (like Shopify) have SSL certificates as standard, but it’s good to speak to an expert like our digital business advisers if you’re not sure where to begin.

Keep your plug-ins up-to-date

Website platforms like WordPress and Wix allow you to add things like payment platforms, newsletter subscriptions and more to your website. These are called plug-ins.

They’re incredibly useful and can make it easier for customers to buy from you, but they’re also subject to the same attacks that cyber criminals use on other bits of software.

Just like your Windows updates, it is important to make sure you install the latest versions of plug-ins on a regular basis. Updates often include fixes for bugs that could potentially be used to hack your website. Keeping your plug-ins up-to-date helps you minimise the risk of your customers’ personal information being stolen.

Use strong passwords

This should go without saying but having strong passwords for your website is especially important when selling online. Just think: if someone logged into your website, what information could they steal?

Your customers’ orders can have a whole host of info – even if it isn’t full card details, there is still enough personal info for identity theft. Plus with access to your website, criminals have complete control – it’s the digital equivalent of someone having the keys to your shop.

Strong passwords also minimise the risk of a data breach, something that could cause significant harm to your reputation as well as result in a fine. In line with the GDPR regulations brought in in May 2018, data breaches involving personal information may need to be reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

We’re here to help

Selling online opens up a whole new world of opportunity for Welsh businesses, so it’s important to do it right. There are several ways to do it, and Superfast Business Wales is here to help you make the move online.

Sign up for a free webinar or register for free 1:1 support today.

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