South Africa has the sixth highest rate of cybercrime victims worldwide, according to a report by international cybersecurity company Surfshark.
Following the breach of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s personal data by hackers, consumers have been cautioned to remain vigilant when visiting websites and making online transactions. For small businesses, this comes as a warning to avoid becoming complacent when it comes to web security.
“Small businesses are attractive targets for cybercriminals because they often lack the digital security precautions of larger organisations,” says Thomas Vollrath, head of local web hosting company 1-grid.com. “Securing your website is not complicated – there are a variety of affordable and user-friendly security solutions for small businesses to invest in.”
In 2022, SMEs faced a 69% increase in Password Stealing Ware detections, said anti-virus provider Kaspersky. According to the global cybersecurity company, they are also prone to internet attacks, such web pages that redirect to exploits, and other malicious programmes. In recent months, 1-grid has also seen a significant increase in malware, often included in email attachments, which can compromise passwords and personal data when opened.
“Ignoring web security can leave businesses open to attacks, which can negatively impact their reputation and profits. In some cases, it can even have legal consequences,” says Vollrath. “An SSL certificate protects customer data by encrypting information like credit card details, logins, and other sensitive information, which prevents it from being accessed by unauthorised people on the internet.”
In addition to protecting your customers, an SSL certificate also helps to increase your Google ranking. Google favours HTTPS-encrypted websites and will rank them higher in search results. As a result, consumers are more likely to find your brand when searching for deals on products and services that you offer. Domains that are not HTTPS secure are flagged by Google, which discourages consumers from making payments or sharing their data on your website.
“Once consumers know that their information is protected, they are more likely to do business with you. Additional layers of security, like two-factor authentication and one-time pins, let customers know that you’ve done the work on the backend to ensure their data is safe,” says Vollrath.