9 Security Must-Haves for Your Business Website
Nowadays, the threat of online security breaches and data theft looms large in the minds of many business owners. Any company running a website for business purposes must focus on cybersecurity like never before. The good news is, you can greatly enhance the security of your website with a few relatively simple steps. The following nine security measures will turn away the vast majority of suspicious programs or individuals trying to visit your site with ill intent.
If you look at the address bar above this website, you’ll see a little padlock symbol to the left of the website URL. This padlock symbol shows that the website is protected by a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), which means all information traveling between the website hosting service and your computer is encrypted. Nobody can read the data and steal it as it travels over the internet when it’s protected by SSL encryption.
Installing SSL certification is one of the first things any website owner should do, as many browsers and virus protection programs warn people away from any site that lacks the SSL padlock, and rightly so. It’s wise to be wary of websites that aren’t protected with an SSL certificate. SSL protection is especially important if your customers input sensitive data, such as payment details, email addresses, or contact information.
Software providers regularly update their products. In doing so, they bring things up to date with the most advanced technology and programming methods. These updates also often fix potential bugs and weaknesses that leave sites open to potential breaches.
If you fail to keep your website’s software updated, you risk having outdated software that’s easier for hackers and malicious programs to break into. Many website builders will automatically update files and systems for you. Check with your website builder or manager to ensure that your website is continuously checking for and installing the newest iterations of all themes, files, and plugins.
An important key to effective cybersecurity is never to allow yourself to be the low-hanging fruit: never be the easiest mark for hackers to target. While scanning the internet for hacking opportunities, malicious actors and their programs will almost always zero in on the sites, apps, and individuals that are most vulnerable to data breaches, scams, or fraud.
Despite the risks, many business owners still use simple, memorable passwords on their websites, social media accounts, and other online services. Worse still, they sometimes use the same password across multiple platforms. These business owners are the low-hanging fruit for hackers; make sure aren’t among them. Always create extremely long, complex, nonsensical passwords for your website and other services, and store them all securely in encrypted password managers like LastPass, 1Password, or KeePass.
Regular automatic backups are your insurance against unexpected catastrophic failures with your website, which can and do occasionally occur. If you ever lose website files to a virus or hardware crash or have them stolen, having a recent backup will save you a great deal of heartache. You can periodically back your files up on an external hard drive that you keep in your home.
You can also often set up a system whereby your website files are regularly backed up on the cloud, which means on another company’s server somewhere. If you do so, it’s best to have your files encrypted end-to-end during the backup process, which prevents anyone from reading them except for you. Your website builder or hosting platform may be able to arrange automatic cloud backups for you.
Your website lives on the servers of whichever hosting company you use. As such, the security of your website depends in large part on how secure your hosting provider is. So when choosing your hosting company, pay attention to how security-conscious they are. You can scour their website for information about their security protocols and ask their customer support for info on this.
A good hosting provider will often provide free SSL certification and also offer an even more robust advanced SSL certificate for larger companies. They should also provide a variety of other security features, including using SFTP for file transfers, DDoS protection, network monitoring, CDN support, and more.
It’s wise for every business owner to set up a web application firewall. This firewall sits between your website’s server at the hosting company and the data connection and checks every bit of data that passes through with a fine-toothed comb.
Firewalls provide an additional layer of protection against all kinds of application layer attacks, which include SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and cookie poisoning. These kinds of attacks constitute a significant source of data breaches. These days, it’s quite straightforward to set up a cloud-based Web Application Firewall as a set-and-forget system.
One of the greatest cybersecurity threats to business comes from malware: software intended to cause harm if it gets into your system. If malware gains access to your computer or website files, it can cause data loss or even financial loss. Malware may steal the confidential data of your customers, causing harm to them and also to your reputation. Ransomware, a form of malware, can even encrypt important data, forcing you to pay a ransom via cryptocurrency to regain access.
Depending on the security measures of your hosting company, you may need to periodically scan your website files for malware, especially when uploading new files to the server. There are various effective virus-scanning tools you can use for this, or you can ask your web manager or hosting provider to carry regular scans out for you.
Even though you as the business owner are highly security conscious, how cautious are your employees when handling your website and customer data? Many security breaches are caused by careless or unwitting employees who never think to scan for malware or use complex passwords.
Ensure that your own security protocols are shared by everyone in your company. This should include intelligent use of passwords, including regular password changes, security measures against malware, a firm emphasis on data protection, varying access levels to data, and an overall privacy-by-design systems setup. Take the time to implement systems to ensure that none of your employees is a weak link in an otherwise robust cybersecurity chain.
If you already have an existing website, you can certainly improve its security with all of the above measures. But the very best way to ensure website security is to prioritize security from the very beginning when you’re first designing and building your website for business.
Whichever website builder you choose to use, ask them about their security measures and ensure that protection against attacks, malware, and data breaches is a top priority. Building your website in a security-conscious way from the foundation up will save you the expense and time it may take to make big changes or recover from security breaches down the road.
If you’d like a super-secure, SEO-friendly, turnkey website created for you, contact Next Level Media Crew today to schedule a free strategy call. We create gorgeous websites for small business owners that are live and ready to start attracting customers in just 30 days.
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