Fastest Way to Recover from Cyber Disaster is Prior Planning

Running an online business, especially in the e-commerce realm, presents unique opportunities and challenges. Your website can serve as the lifeblood of your digital business life. With your online store, you are not limited by your physical location. However, your site holds sensitive customer data, financial transactions, and your brand’s reputation. With “43% of cyberattacks targeting small businesses”, protecting your e-commerce or WordPress website is a top priority. This article highlights how to prepare for, avoid, and recover from disasters that may impact your online operations. In a nutshell, “The fastest way to recover from cyber disaster is prior planning.”

We are using a site that features a WordPress content management system, CMS, because this is the most popular choice of US businesses.

How to Prepare for Cyber Disaster

Prepare You Disaster Recovery Plan

Write your plan and know how to reach it and react to it, 24/7 and 365 days a year. We will talk more about your plan in a future article.

Do Daily Site Backups

When you are selecting a website hosting company select one that includes daily backups. I recommend that the daily backups include all themes, plugins, databases, and files. This should cost a fraction of the costs to build a new site. Restoring a site from backup copy is a major time saver. Seventy-one percent of businesses experiences at least one cyberattack in 2022, reported the 2023 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence.  Verizon added to the warnings in their 2023 Threat Intelligence Index. “43 percent of those attacks targeted small business.”

Routinely Update Software and Plugins

Enabling automatic updates for WordPress core, plugins, and themes, is a simple solution. The risk is that when you update multiple things at the same time, and the site breaks, you will not know which one caused the problem. You can avoid accidentally breaking your own site by testing updates on a staging server. Keep this feature in mind when you shop for a site hosting solution. This step is worth the work when you see the numbers. “43 percent of all hacked websites are WordPress”, said Sucuri in their 2023 “Website Security Trends Report.

Implement Strong Security Measures

Robust security is essential. You want a daily scan pf your website for vulnerabilities and malware. I suggest installing a proven, reputable security plugin. Two known in the world of WordPress security are Wordfence and Sucuri. Use strong passwords that are unique to your website. Take the extra seconds to activate two factor authentication. An example of this is having the site text a unique code to your cell phone as part of your site login. It is estimated that the average cost of a data breach for an unwary small business is 4.24 million dollars.

Regular Routine Maintenance

Forty-three percent of website downtime is caused by website errors, maintenance can save you money. Regular maintenance prevents issues before they cause disasters. Regularly update content, repair broken links, and remove unused plugins and themes. If lead pages bring you business, test them at least weekly. Monitor your site’s activity errors and suspicious activity.

Educate Your Team

Provide basic security training for your team. Have it included strong passwords, social engineering tricks. Let them know what “suspicious” activity is in your industry. Their work passwords should not be duplicates of their favorite passwords from their personal life. Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigation Report reported that,” Human error is a major factor in data breaches.”  “Twenty-two percent of breaches involve phishing attacks.”

Disaster Recovery

If you are reading this after the attack, immediately assess the damage and identify critical like compromised data or payment system. Isolate the affected areas to prevent further damage. Learn from it. Do not make the same mistakes again.

Restore from Backup

Backups are essential for recovery. Post-disaster security is essential. If you have recent, verified backups, restore your website according to your disaster recovery plan. Thoroughly test the restored website for functionality and security before making it live again. Malware likes to lurk in the code and does not want to be routed. Scan your restored site for hacks and malware before “going live.”  Cyber criminals sometimes leave a backdoor to come after you again within 6 months. A recent Cyber Recovery survey reported that 79% of organizations that had a comprehensive disaster recovery plan recovered all their data after a cyberattack.

Conclusion

Avoid being another cyber threat statistic. Following these plan steps. Avoid being another cyber threat statistic. Remember, make your plan. Have that plan include selecting a host that includes daily backups of the entire site. Before you update everything, test on a staging server version of your site. Select tough passwords and two factor verification. Select proven security and malware scanners. Train your team how to stay safe because the faster way to bounce back is to plan for disaster recovery, today.

 

About the author: Author: Margaret  Ross, Visible Strategies Agency group and founder Kamaron Institute.