As a fitness business owner, you have a lot to think about each day. Member retention, marketing and managing your staff are all things you need to stay on top of. Your website’s security is also another concern, but it’s one that gym owners tend to give less thought to. That lack of attention becomes problematic because an unsecured website can end up costing you dearly in lost business and revenue.
The Real Threat: Cyber Attacks and Theft
Many small business owners think website security is just something big corporations need to worry about, but that’s not true. Any website is vulnerable to fraud, theft and malicious attacks like viruses and malware. In fact, according to Security Week, an internet and enterprise security news organization, attackers often “go for the low-hanging fruit, and small business websites are among the softest and easiest targets because so many owners don’t even realize they need security.”
To give you a full picture of the vulnerabilities your website faces, here are a few recent statistics:
- 43% of all cybercrime takes place against small businesses.
- 18.5 million websites are infected with malware each week.
- The average website is attacked 44 times each day.
- More than 50,000 websites are successfully hacked each day.
The Impact of Cyber Attacks and Theft
Your business could be severely compromised in a cyber-attack. If you take payments for classes, memberships, workshops or services through an unsecured website, hackers can steal your members’ personal data. This data includes credit card numbers, social security numbers and other personal identification information like addresses, phone numbers and dates of birth.
Malware is another significant threat to websites. One type of malware can change your website’s content. When that happens, the new content will often promote a religious or political ideology, which is shocking to anyone expecting to find a reputable business at a specific website address. Another type of malware attack, called malvertising, uses a compelling advertisement to trick unsuspecting site visitors into clicking on the ad. Once that happens, the victim’s computer or device becomes infected with a nasty virus.
The third type of common malware sends site visitors to look-alike malicious websites. There, attackers can manipulate your site visitors into giving up their personal data. As if the things we’ve described weren’t bad enough, once a website is hit with malware, its placement in Google search results will be compromised. Specifically, sites that have been affected by malware will often be dropped entirely from search results.
Likewise, Google algorithms take a website’s overall level of security into account. Websites that are not secure suffer from a much lower placement in a search engine results page, regardless of whether or not the site was hacked. Then, when someone visits an unsecured website, Google will alert them with a not secure designation in the search bar.
In total, these vulnerabilities can cost a business in lost trust, a compromised reputation, a responsibility to remedy a breach of data, and possibly the loss of business. Obviously, you don’t want something this terrible to happen to you and your business.
How to Protect Your Business
When you consider these factors, it’s clear that business owners must ensure their website is secure. To do that, you’ll need to verify your website is SSL compliant, which means it’s using a secure encryption method to transmit data from your site to the server. The best way to check that your website is compliant is to view your URL and confirm that it includes “https://” at the beginning, rather than just “http://.”
If your website isn’t SSL compliant, you’ll need to address that immediately. One way to do that is to work through the steps involved with migrating your site from http:// to https://. This includes purchasing an SSL Certificate, configuring hosting with SSL Certificate, changing internal links and setting up 301 redirects.
Zen Planner’s lead-generating websites are not only beautifully designed, but they’re also secure. Read our complete website checklist to learn more.
Zen Planner is a management and billing software for boutique fitness businesses.
We help gym, school, and studio owners streamline their day-to-day tasks so they can get back to doing what they love — helping their members. Enjoy all the features you need to manage your fitness business, including robust reporting dashboards, automated payment processing, skills and belt tracking, attendance history, and online retail.