Your website is your digital storefront. An online presence gives your business enhanced visibility, but creating a secure website instils consumer confidence. In recent years, the ease of building websites has expanded. Thanks to content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla, business owners are now the webmasters. However, cybersecurity attacks have grown in recent years. So, the responsibility for website security is now in your hands.
Continue reading this article as we’ve covered 10 easy steps to secure your website…
1. Use a Secure Web Host: The security and the performance of your website depends majorly on the hosting provider that you go for. Each web hosting provider will carry unique benefits that will improve your website. For instance, some web hosting companies will provide clients with features like Web Application Firewalls and Denial-of-service protection, whereas other hosts will not. A reliable and capable web hosting provider will also have a data recovery plan in case of a data breach on your website.
2. Install an SSL Certificate and Secure Your Website with HTTPS: Installing an SSL certificate is the simplest way to keep your website secure. An SSL/TLS certificate will secure your communications using the secure HTTPS protocol. It means that all communications between your user’s browser and your website (or your web server) is encrypted. So, hackers cannot intercept the data while it’s in transit. A common misconception is that only e-commerce websites need an SSL certificate. Even static websites need HTTPS. This is due to the fact that hackers can watch user interactions on unprotected websites and use the knowledge they gain to launch a phishing attack.
3. Keep Software and Plugins Up-To-Date: Every single day new vulnerabilities are found. As these vulnerabilities are made public, software providers update their codebases to ensure they’re patched and new protections are put in place. Hackers prey on the sites that are out of date due to the ease with which they can take control of such sites. As a site administrator, you need to ensure that all your software and plugins are updated regularly.
4. Record User Access and Administrative Privileges: Be selective when it comes to assigning user access to your website CMS. It is critical to vet the users before giving access. Check if they have experience in using the CMS and if they know what to look for to avoid a security breach. Educate every CMS user about the best practices to maintain the website’s safety.
5. Backup Your Website Regularly: Back up your website regularly. You should maintain backups of all of your website files in case your site becomes inaccessible or your data is lost. Your web host provider should provide backups of their own servers, but you should still backup your files regularly. Some content management programs have plugins or extensions that can automatically back up your site, and you should also be able to back up databases and content manually.
6. Enforce a Strong Password Policy: Passwords are one of the most common targets for hackers, so it’s imperative that your company enforces a strong password policy. This policy will not only define the requirements of the password itself but the procedure your organization will use to select and securely manage passwords.
7. Apply for a Web Application Firewall: Using an SSL certificate alone is not enough. A vulnerability in your web application could also allow the attacker to display false information or hold a website hostage (ransomware attack) or wipe out all its data. A web application firewall (WAF) is designed to prevent such attacks against websites.
8. Tighten Network Security: Firewalls play a major role in protecting your network. Any attacker looking for vulnerabilities should look for open ports first. Lock down your network with a properly configured firewall, understand your own internal network with locked down IPs, VLANs and VPN.
9. Scan Your Website for Vulnerabilities: A good security check can identify any potential issues with your website. Use a web monitoring service to automate this. You need to run a test on your site’s programming every week (at minimum). Monitoring services have programs that make this easy to do. Once you receive the report, pay close attention to the findings. These are all of the vulnerabilities on your site. The report should contain details on them. It may even classify them according to threat level. Start with the most harmful and then fix these issues.
10. Install a Security Plugin: If you built your website with a content management system (CMS), you can enhance your website security with security plugins that actively prevent hacking attempts. Majority of the CMS have security plugins available, some of which are free. For instance, Sucuri is a renowned WordPress plugin for malware detection and security hardening.
Having a website for your business and having a secure website are two very different things. Hope this article gives you some insights on how to create a secure website.
If you need assistance in beefing up security of your website, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team of experts will be glad to assist you.