5 steps you should take to ensure website security
| April 02, 2021
If websites are separate properties partitioned as part of a planned city, the internet is the network of roads linking all these properties together. Websites rely on the internet in order to reach billions of people situated all over the world, and just like a city, the internet generates a lot of traffic.
However, just like a large city, the internet faces a number of security concerns. At any given time, someone is trying to steal your data and exploit it for their own gain. Whether it’s customer bank details, company secrets, or even your own personal information, you need to keep your website data safe and secure from cyberattacks.
The impact of cyber attacks
You might have heard of companies losing data to hackers in the news. Some cyberattacks, especially those that target financial and healthcare institutions, result in billions of dollars of losses in the form of identity theft and securities fraud.
Even if your membership site does not see much traffic, cybercriminals will try to find a way to hijack it and gain access to your data. Your business stands to lose more than just money in the aftermath of a cyberattack:
The largest impact cybercrime can have on your site will be on your reputation. If your subscribers don’t feel their data is with you, they will likely choose another service provider that offers better security. You will also spend a lot of time and resources trying to clean up the mess that the hackers have left behind.
Here are some other losses you might incur as a result of a website security breach:
- Theft of corporate or financial information
- A diminished brand perception
- Legal costs associated with lawsuits from dissatisfied users
While you cannot discourage hackers from trying to break their way into your site, you can implement different measures to reduce their impact and make hacking your site not worth their time.
5 ways to bolster your website’s security
It’s never too early to take several steps to keep your website safe from different kinds of cyberattacks.
Install security plug-ins
One study shows that a typical website faces 44 attacks every day, which means you need to implement solutions that track and repel malicious activity in real time. A safe and easy way to shore up your defenses is by installing and using a competent security plugin that offers the following benefits:
- Advanced DDoS (distributed denial of service) protection, which shields your site from hackers that try to cripple your site by sending multiple requests
- Powerful password enforcement and management
- Two-factor authentication for added security
- Email notifications of security breaches in real-time
- Information and resource backups
- Spam protection in places like the comments section
Security plug-ins like Sucuri, WPScan, and Google Authenticator are examples of all-in-one solutions that manage website security and keep your data safe.
Ever wondered why your website URL includes the characters “http://” in the beginning? This stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which allows computers to load web pages through the internet.
Most secure websites use HTTPS, which is a modern iteration of that protocol. The “S” at the end indicates a focus on security. A website that uses HTTPS encrypts the data it sends and receives so that it cannot be used by anyone who manages to intercept it.
Example of HTTPS Encryption
HTTPS is commonly used in situations requiring people to log in in order to access sensitive data. Online banking platforms and client management platforms use it heavily to keep customer data, such as usernames, passwords, and personal preferences, secure. To know if your site can use HTTPS, ask your hosting provider.
Ditch commonly used passwords
While tech experts tell us to choose passwords that are hard to hack, we’ve all encountered people who use “password” as their password. Even the most inexperienced hackers can easily guess this type of password.
When you create login credentials for your site, choose passwords that are complex and hard to guess. Using a mixture of numbers, uppercase letters, lowercase letters, and symbols will make it hard for cybercriminals to hack into your account, and using a different password for each app login will make it even harder for them.
Pick a hosting provider with outstanding security features
Many hosting providers skimp on security to cut costs and offer low-priced hosting packages, which makes them very attractive to site owners. However, signing up for these services will mean that your website infrastructure will be unable to handle heavy traffic.
If your site can’t handle heavy traffic you will be vulnerable to DDoS attacks. Hackers can also easily break into your databases, taking away sensitive information, including customer login credentials, bank details, and marketing funnel data. We discuss these types of problems on Hosting Foundry.
Reputable hosting providers offer advanced DDoS protection, two-factor authentication, scheduled backups, and real-time traffic monitoring systems. While these features cost money, your site needs them to keep your data and customer data secure.
Keep your website and other associated properties updated
Older sites are easier to hack because they lack the advanced safety features that are common among newer sites. In fact, backdoors and other age-related vulnerabilities allowed hackers to gain entry into 47% of the websites affected by cyberattacks in 2019. These backdoors are usually caused by the continued use of outdated website properties like plugins, extensions, and frameworks.
Websites built on a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or Magento are particularly at risk because of the sheer number of users. However, your CMS will alert you to any mandatory security updates that will fix any loopholes that leave your site open to attacks.
More customers are choosing to do business transactions online. If your goal is to establish a steady online presence, the first thing you should do is to boost your website security. This keeps your site safe from cyberattacks, keeps your data and customer information secure, and improves your site performance.
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