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Localsearch reveals website security threats SMBs are facing

New data released by the Australian Government on cyber crime reports the average loss from a cyber attack is $64,000, which is undeniably a big blow for any business.

This data comes from the 76,000 cyber crimes reported in the 2021-2022 financial year, marking a 13% increase year-on-year. This information also follows recent high level attacks on the likes of Medibank and Optus.

New research recently released from Localsearch, revealed the extent of the issues facing small businesses:

  • 67% of small to medium businesses (SMB's) surveyed that advertised for new staff during the last 12 months have yet to fill the positions
  • 74% of SMB's say that the biggest challenge when finding staff is the lack of industry experience. An additional 36% claim that there aren't enough skilled workers to undertake high-level jobs, and a further 33% say that applicants that do have the skills are asking for above average salaries.
  • Almost 50% of SMB's surveyed believe that the trade industry is facing the biggest challenges as a result of skills shortage

Daniel Stoten, Executive Chairman at Localsearch, has released five tips businesses can use to protect their website and business from cyber attacks.

Ensure the website is hosted on a secure platform

Choosing a safe and secure hosting platform is key to ensuring your website is as secure as possible. The best way to ensure you're selecting a reputable hosting platform is by doing your own research.

Stoten says, be sure to read reviews and don't be afraid to ask the platform questions. It's important to ensure the host is aware of potential threats and has measures in place to secure data. At a minimum, a website hosting platform should run regular back-ups and offer ongoing technical support.

Keep plug-ins and software up to date

According to Stoten, outdated plug-ins and software are one of the biggest security risks to website owners. It can be compared to having a front door with a broken lock anyone can just walk right in and take what isn't theirs. Hackers work just like this, looking for security holes in software and plug-ins.

Use strong passwords

The general rule of passwords is to take a few random words and add a number or special characters. Even so, Stoten says people are continuing to use pets names, address or car model as passwords.

Continually test security

Testing website security is an important way to gauge how at risk a website is to cyber crime. Stoten says, "As part of our website audit, we test for overall website security. So, if you're not sure if your website is up to date and protected, contact our team to help you out."

Ensure a website has an SSL certificate

When an SSL certificate is installed on a website, every piece of information which is exchanged between the server and browser is encrypted, meaning data is protected. When a user is not sure a website has a valid SSL certificate, they can look at the website URL, when using Google Chrome, and if a current SSL Certificate is in use there will be a locked padlock beside the URL.

Stoten conlcudes, "Our mission at Localsearch is to continue helping the mum and dad businesses of Australia grow their businesses and their online presence. We're doing all we can to support the online growth, visibility and development of our clients, however, it's clear that more needs to be done to ensure they can continue to prosper."

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