Make sure your website stays Happy!

WHILE your competitors are looking to the future with their all-singing, all-dancing websites, make sure yours doesn’t lose its voice or its rhythm.

Recent headlines have seen well-known brands fall foul of scammers who have been able to access customer’s details and put them at risk in the public domain.

And if a respected international company with more than four million UK customers is at risk from attackers then your site can be too.

The risk of cyber-attacks are a very real threat in a day where the large majority of transactions are done through digital systems. It seems every week a company has been targeted and the personal details of customers are released, threatening the very people your company is supposed to protect.

As the threat becomes more real so does the realisation that you need an insurance policy on your website to make sure you and your customers are protected and the functionality of your website continues to work.

As well as updating your company’s website design and content, keeping on top of the latest security patches and bug fixes is vital to make sure your site is safe and protected from spammers and fraudsters.

Similar to anti-virus software updates, CMS updates are provided regularly for good reason. Like anything else, when it comes to online security, everything on the web can become vulnerable with time and hackers are always finding new holes, and new ways to exploit the back end of a website.
Outdated software is increasingly prone to attack as coding languages have changed and large holes can be left which fraudulent operators are keen to exploit for their own gain – and you leave you prone to more attacks unless improved systems are put in place.
If your site does becomes compromised, these are the kind of issues you might have to deal with:

• Thousands of spammy links from questionable sites which may cause your site to be penalised by Google leading to loss of traffic and enquiries.
• Stealing of private user data including email addresses, credit card information, passwords and other private customer information.
• Hijacking of your site to change layout, delete or add offensive content, or change the way your site functions.
• Changing of your CMS password restricting access to your site.

The consequences of failing to update can damage your site and, more realistically, your businesses reputation. Being proactive is the most important way of ensuring your site does not become compromised.

If you wait until your site has been hacked, even if you eventually update, it’s possible the hacker has installed ‘backdoor’ software that allows access again at a later date. This means that even though your compromised site may be able to be fixed to a point, it’s always going to be the best option to start with a clean slate, which, in the long run, is going to cost you time and expense while your competitors who have reacted to the possible threat are stealing a lead in the market.

Nick Hyde is PR & Content Manager at Happy Creative, a full service marketing and creative agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to www.happy-creative.co.uk

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