As a health club operator, you have many responsibilities to balance. Retention, marketing and staff leadership are all things you need to stay on top of. Your website’s security is also a concern, but it’s one that health club operators tend to give less thought to. That lack of attention must be addressed because an unsecured website can result in lost business and ultimately revenue.

What are cyber attacks?

Every website is vulnerable to fraud, theft and 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.”

Your club 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.

What is malware?

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 club 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 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.

Why is cyber security important?

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 club in lost trust, a compromised reputation, a responsibility to remedy a breach of data, and possibly the loss of business.

How do you improve your website’s security?

When you consider these factors, it’s clear that club leaders 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.

If you have questions about your health club’s software or website security, please reach out to the CSI Spectrum team!