How Can Small Businesses Determine Website Security Risk?
With the advent of automated website building platforms and simple, intuitive content management systems, the number of small businesses is increasing. But are these secure websites? Mostly not!
In 2019, 63% of SMBs were victims of data breaches. The latest data suggests that 43% of SMBs still lack cybersecurity defense plans. This is because small businesses believe that attackers have bigger fish to fry. They leave themselves vulnerable to various threats and create a massive burden of website security risks.
So, what are the security issues in your web application? How do we determine these website security risks? Keep reading to find out.
Why Should Small Businesses Know Their Website Security Risks?
Simple… Small businesses cannot minimize and manage risk without adequate knowledge about the web security risks facing them while keeping risk within tolerable levels. Small businesses that do not effectively manage their risks and leave themselves open to threats find themselves shutting down operations within 6 months of a data breach. This is because the cost of financial ruin and reputational damage is too high. The current cost of data breaches is USD 2.98 million for businesses with less than 500 employees!
This has necessitated regular website security risk assessment. Here’s how it helps:
- A clearer picture of vulnerabilities and security issues in the web application, their exploitability, and their impact
- Insights on known and emerging threats, their probability, and how they impact your business
- Improved ability to adapt to the changing threat landscape
- Better preparedness for unforeseen events
- Strengthen compliance with regulatory and industry standards
Determining Web Security Risks Facing Small Businesses
Firstly, you need to understand that website security risks aren’t threats per se. They are different from threats because threats are the actual events of cyberattacks or data breaches. But risks reflect the probability of such an incident occurring, the vulnerability that allows it, and the impact of such an incident on the business. A simple formula that encapsulates risks is
Website Security Risk = Vulnerability x Threat x Impact
Let us understand how to determine web security risks facing small businesses.
1. Form a Team
For effective risk assessment, you need to start forming a team that will take the lead and be responsible for ongoing assessments and effective management of risks. Given their frugal resources, small businesses use internal teams to save the costs involved. However, if the team does not have the expertise and latest knowledge, the risk assessment process will not be thorough and effective. It helps to leverage the services of security experts like Indusface, who can work as an extension of your team and help you continuously determine, manage, and monitor risks.
2. Choose A Framework
Several website security risk assessment frameworks, such as NIST CSF, C2M2, NERC CIP, etc., are available for businesses to use to determine their risks. These resources enable businesses to gain granular insights into their risk posture. So, in addition to the general methodologies, these frameworks should be leveraged to look at more specific areas that impact security.
3. Know the Threats Facing Your Small Business
The threat landscape is evolving rapidly, with newer, more sophisticated threats emerging every day. However, not every threat may be relevant to every business. The likelihood and relevance of some threats are greater for some enterprises based on their IT infrastructure, defenses, and industry.
Small businesses need to be aware of known and emerging threats facing them, the impact of each, and the probability of the threat occurring. Global threat intelligence, security analytics, security documentation, past attack history, etc., are useful in gaining insights about threats.
Some of the top threats facing small businesses are:
- Phishing and social engineering attacks
- Password attacks
- SSL attacks
- Supply chain threats
- DDoS attacks
- Injection attacks, etc.
4. Proactively Identify Vulnerabilities
To effectively determine risks, you need to identify vulnerabilities proactively. To this end, you need to start with creating and updating your asset inventory. Then, use an intelligent scanner like Indusface WAS to detect known vulnerabilities in your assets daily and on-demand automatically.
To identify unknown and business logic vulnerabilities, security misconfigurations, and so on, use security audits and penetration testing performed by certified security experts. These security tests also enable businesses to understand the exploitability and impact of these vulnerabilities.
5. Identity and Rank Risks
Based on the insights on threats, vulnerabilities, and the consequences of attacks, you can determine all the website security risks facing your small business. Based on their impact and probability, you must rank risks associated with each vulnerability as critical, high, medium, and low. Critical and high-risk vulnerabilities need to get the maximum attention in mitigation.
The Way Ahead
Remember that every business, regardless of its size, is at risk of cyberattacks. So, every business must proactively identify its website security risks. However, don’t stop there; use the insights from continuous risk assessments to mitigate risks and harden your security posture.