Written by: Katie Conroy
Websites experience an average of 94 attacks a day, reports Expert Insights, and 2,608 bot visits a week. A successful attack wreaks havoc on day-to-day operations, not to mention compromises sensitive company and customer information. In rare cases, the company may go bankrupt, as PrivacySavvy can confirm.
It’s a given your website will be attacked, you can’t prevent it. What you can do, however, is follow website security best practices to avoid presenting a soft target. Essentially, hire some bruisers, barricade your windows, lock the front door tight, and keep the keys safe.
Today, Small Small Business shares some powerful tweaks on how to protect your website in this day and age of rising cybersecurity threats.
Evaluate Your Web Host
Your web host is your first line of defense (when you’re not hosting the site yourself). Not all web hosts are equal when it comes to security. Some have better security infrastructure and are more conscientious about following and enforcing security standards. You should look for SSL certificates, firewalls, attack protection, support, CDNs, and PCI compliance. Digital lists the most secure hosts out there.
Run a Vulnerability Scan
When you’re hosting your own infrastructure or have a hybrid setup, a vulnerability scanner is essential. It will identify and list the common chinks in your security armor. Some of the areas they offer insight into include your computer systems, networks, applications, and operational procedures. You can also hire an experienced cybersecurity expert or web developer instead.
Double-Check Your Design Elements
Your website contains some design elements – like themes, plugins, files, images, and other content. These are often riddled with vulnerabilities and can affect your site’s security. You can and should go over these elements often to keep your site safe. This doesn’t apply when you use a managed host, they take care of this for you.
Get Expert Help
Unless you’re a web developer yourself, it can be hard to scan your design elements and your CMS setup in general for threats, even when you’re using scanner software. However, a data breach could easily wreck your company before you even get started, so you might want to invest in a service like Tausight.com that’s designed to protect all your data by utilizing a real-time, situational PHI awareness platform – which is especially necessary in fields like healthcare, or other areas where the confidentiality of clients and customers is absolutely critical.
One of the most common reasons websites fall prey to attacks is failing to update software. Something as simple as not updating a plugin gives a hacker a back door (an entry point) to exploit. If you use WordPress or a similar CMS, make sure you update as soon as a new, stable version is released. The same counts for all the plugins you use.
Educate Your Employees (and Yourself)
A whopping 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error. Simply educating your employees and yourself can go a long way toward keeping your site safe. Start by learning about the common causes of website breaches – like ransomware, phishing, and malware – and how to identify an infection and safeguard against them. Read this handy safety guide for WordPress users.
Next, make sure you all take some basic precautions. Here are some suggestions:
- Use strong passwords that can’t be guessed.
- Never share personal information.
- Don’t leave your devices lying around.
- Always use secure public WiFi, and password-protect yours.
- Maintain backups of your site and data.
Make sure you and your employees know what to do if your site is ever hit or taken over. A quick, measured response will allow you to mitigate the damage to both your site as well as reputation. It can also help for you or a designated staff member to enroll in computer science courses to get a better idea of logic, architecture systems and data structures as a way to enhance expertise related to your web offerings. Online programs make this simple with a flexible schedule so you can keep your business top of mind.
Website security is never a one-and-done thing. It requires periodic monitoring and constant changes and shifts on your part. Hackers constantly come up with new ways to hack into websites and steal your data, and you have to stay one step ahead of them. Make sure you take the long-term view when investing in security platforms and safeguarding your website.
About the author:
Katie Conroy is the creator of Advice Mine. She enjoys writing about lifestyle topics and created the website to share advice she has learned through experience, education, and research.