Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Putting cybersecurity on the agenda this shopping season

With millions of eager Aussies looking to put the impacts of lockdown behind them and splash out on gifts to celebrate their loved ones this festive season, online retailers are readying themselves for a bumper shopping season.

By GoDaddy Australia Managing Director Tamara Oppen.

GoDaddy Australia Managing Director Tamara Oppen.

With peak retail season upon us, new research from GoDaddy indicates that many online Australian small businesses may be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Despite online retailers already experiencing significantly higher site traffic due to the early festive rush, GoDaddy’s research found that two thirds of small businesses have no security protections installed on their website, with only 15% of those surveyed knowing how to handle a cyberattack. Almost one in four (22%) respondents had already experienced a breach on their website, with impacts including website outages, financial loss and reputational damage. Fortunately, there are several ways you can spread festive cheer this retail season, content in the knowledge that you have safeguards protecting you and your customers in the background.

What cybersecurity risks are Australian retailers facing?

As pandemic-related lockdowns forced many bricks-and-mortar retailers to temporarily close their doors, more consumers than ever have turned to online channels to discover businesses, research products and reviews and shop up a storm. However, as ecommerce booms, so too does the risk of a cyberattack. Between June 2020 to July 2021, The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received more than 67,500 cybercrime reports – up by 13% from the previous year.

Whilst many may think that cyberattacks only target large retail businesses, this is not the case. Cyberattacks are indiscriminate and can target all businesses – small or large – equally. Attacks are automated and seek out vulnerable websites, leaving ecommerce businesses without protections more vulnerable than those with protections.

Of the 22% of businesses surveyed that reported having already suffered a cyberattack, 75% experienced website downtime, 35% experienced reputational damage and 32% experienced financial loss. These impacts are damaging at any time, but they are potentially even greater today considering the crucial importance of this year’s online retail shopping rush. Fortunately, though, there are some key actions online retailers and everyday entrepreneurs can take to help protect their online business and their customers.

How online retailers can prepare for the festive rush

Installing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate helps to encrypt the transmission of sensitive business and customer data between the website and the servers. This is a critical measure for retailers who sell products online to help protect their customers’ data – and their own reputation. When a website is protected with SSL, a padlock is displayed in the corner of the URL browser, so visitors know protective measures are being taken by this business

Additionally, installing a firewall can help prevent DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) and malware attacks. Malware scanning and remediation can help a website get back up and running quickly after a cyberattack. Businesses can also protect their online presence with website security services that continually monitor and identify virus attacks as they are happening and recommend immediate fixes.

Don’t worry, though, you needn’t be an expert: GoDaddy Website Security products and services provides straightforward cybersecurity protections and offers SSL Certificates, malware scanning, firewalls, and continuous security monitoring services, to protect a website and provide peace of mind for businesses and customers knowing that the business has taken extra steps to help protect them when on their website.

Don’t forget basic security protections such as using strong passwords, regularly updating them and storing them in a password management tool. System updates for your computer, mobile devices, apps and websites often contain the latest security updates, so make sure to install them. These simple, everyday steps help develop a security-conscious mindset for online retailers and can help to lower the risk of a cyberattack.

After the last 18 months it’s understandable that small businesses and online shoppers alike are looking ahead to the upcoming festive shopping rush with a little more eagerness than usual. And whilst cybersecurity might feel daunting, by following these security measures can help you and your customers more safely enjoy the festive shopping season.

About Tamara Oppen and GoDaddy Australia

Tamara Oppen is the Managing Director for GoDaddy Australia. GoDaddy is the company empowering Australian entrepreneurs to succeed online. For simple tech solutions to help make your life as a business owner easier, visit godaddy.com.au. Tamara is charged with leading the company’s Australian operations and growth as it continues to deepen its presence in the region to help small businesses get online and thrive.

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