As a website owner, is there anything more terrifying than the thought of seeing all your work altered or entirely wiped out by a nefarious hacker?
We see data breaches and hacks in the news all the time. And you may think, why would someone come after my small business website? But hacks don’t just happen to the big guys. One report found that small businesses were the victims of 43% of all data breaches.
So, whether you run a small business or enterprise, it is important to make your website secure for your users.
Here are a few ways to keep your website secure to give your users a safe online experience.
- Keep Software and Plugins up to date
Every day, there are countless websites compromised due to outdated software. Potential hackers and bots are scanning sites to attack.
Updates are vital to the health and security of your website. If your site’s software or applications are not up to date, your site is not secure.
Take all software and plugin update requests seriously.
Updates often contain security enhancements and vulnerability repairs. Check your website for updates or add an update notification plugin. Some platforms allow automatic updates, which is another option to ensure website security.
The longer you wait, the less secure your site will be. Make updating your website and its components a top priority.
- Tighten Network Security
When you think your website is secure, you need to analyze your network security.
Employees who use office computers may inadvertently be creating an unsafe pathway to your website.
To prevent them from giving access to your website’s server, consider doing the following at your business:
- Have computer logins expire after a short period of inactivity.
- Make sure your system notifies users every three months of password changes.
- Ensure all devices plugged into the network are scanned for malware each time they are attached.
- Backup Your Website
One of the best methods to keep your site safe is to have a good backup solution. You should have more than one. Each is crucial to recovering your website after a major security incident occurs.
There are several different solutions you can use to help recover damaged or lost files.
Keep your website information off-site. Do not store your backups on the same server as your website; they are as vulnerable to attacks too.
Choose to keep your website backup on a home computer or hard drive. Find an off-site place to store your data and to protect it from hardware failures, hacks, and viruses.
Another option is to back up your website in the cloud. It makes storing data easy and allows access to information from anywhere.
Besides choosing where to back up your website, you must consider automating them. Use a solution where you can schedule your site backups. You also want to ensure your solution has a reliable recovery system.
Be redundant in your backup process — backup your backup.
By doing this, you can recover files from any point before a hack or virus occurs.
- Add HTTPS and an SSL Certificate
To keep your website safe, you need a secure URL. If your site visitors offer to send their private information, you need HTTPS, not HTTP, to deliver it.
What is HTTPs?
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol used to provide security over the Internet. HTTPS prevents interceptions and interruptions from occurring while the content is in transit.
For you to create a secure online connection, your website also needs an SSL Certificate. If your website asks visitors to register, sign-up, or make a transaction of any kind, you need to encrypt your connection.
What is SSL?
SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is another necessary site protocol. This transfers visitors’ personal information between the website and your database. SSL encrypts information to prevent it from others reading it while in transit.
It denies those without proper authority the ability to access the data, as well.
- Use a Secure Web Host
Think of your website’s domain name as a street address. Now, think of the web host as the plot of “real estate” where your website exists online.
As you would research a plot of land to build a house, you need to examine potential web hosts to find the right one for you.
Many hosts provide server security features that better protect your uploaded website data. There are certain items to check for when choosing a host.
- Does the web host offer a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)?
- Is FTP Use by Unknown User Disabled?
- Does it offer file backup services?
- How well do they keep up to date on security upgrades?
- Whichever web host you choose, make sure it has what you need to keep your site secure.
Good website security starts with you. Choosing a reliable website builder or hosting provider, SSL certificate, making good choices about how you run your site, and putting in the extra work of tightening your network security.
And we’re here to help you along the way!