Most organizations dread vulnerabilities in their website. Since unpatched vulnerabilities & bugs invite attacks, it is in your best interest to safeguard your website in advance. A cyber attack can allow any hacker to have access to all your customer records, their financial information, and other sensitive information.
The risks are too high.
In fact, the cost of a malware attack is almost US$3 million on average. This could be gruelling, especially for small businesses. Furthermore, any severe data breach could lead to hefty penalties, litigations, and loss of reputation.
Ransomware like WannaCry and Petya have created tremendous havoc in the recent past. Despite this, small businesses are unwilling to have even the minimum-security measure in place for their websites. The counter-theory provided by small businesses is that no one would want to target their website.
However, the statistics prove otherwise. A report by Verizone shows that almost 43% of all attacks are targeted at small businesses.
Your reputation, brand image, marketing & sales efforts, all could go up in smoke in case of a cyberattack. Hence, having a proper security policy is necessary.
Today we are discussing the factors of web security that could be a game-changer for your website.
For CMS specific security guides, check below:
- WordPress Security Guide
- Magento Security Guide
- OpenCart Security Guide
- Drupal Security Guide
- Joomla Security Guide
The 6 Common Website Security Practices
1. Start using HTTPS
Using HTTP for your website exposes it to any form of cyberattacks. HTTPS stands for Hypertext tranfer Protocol Secure. It ensures that the communication between the web browser of the visitor and your web server is secure.
Websites with HTTPS are advertised to be secure and are loved by web browsers. Browsers like Google have introduced a policy which states the provision to mark websites insecure, if they have no SSL certificate. So all you need to do is to buy an SSL certificate.
Getting an SSL certificate is easy. Many hosting companies provide SSL for free. Or you can also get a Positive SSL certificate for a nominal price.
Moreover, you must redirect each page on your website to HTTPS. Having both HTTP & HTTPS pages is termed as mixed content and can result in website blacklisting. Having HTTPS also adds a trusts factor in visitors that their information is safe and inspires more leads.
2. Organize password bootcamps
It will help if you can ensure that your employees are following a strict password policy. The most popular passwords must be avoided. Your team must be aware of the password creation best practices and create the passwords for the website accordingly.
It would help if you never had the familiar sequence of letters and digits as your password. Similarly, avoid having the date of birth, your spouse’s name or the names of your children as your password.
It is helpful to have a complex, lengthy and unique password. You can also opt for multi-factor authentication. It will be a robust mechanism to prevent unauthorized access to the back end of your website.
3. Install security plug-ins
Most websites are built using a content management system (CMS). Most of these CMS(s) use a secure code base, however, zero-day vulnerabilities do occur in them time and again. Moreover, using insecure third-party plug-ins worsens the situation even more. Installing a security plugin can be your best bet to counter situations like these.
The plugins which offer features such as – firewall, malware scanner, IP blocking, country blocking, login activity, etc are the best. Some security plugins like Astra also provide website security audits for your website. It’s a recommendation to go for an all-in-one solution. This way, you will have to download minimal plugins and your site’s speed and performance will not be affected.
4. Double-check your web host
You will need to host your website with a web host. It helps to have the website hosted with a renowned & trusted service provider. However, while deciding on the scope of work, do check on the security infrastructure in the hosting company. Also, enquire whether proper licenses have been brought and the maintenance of the hardware and software systems are underway.
It is better that you discuss the background of the system administrators and ensure that they have requisite certifications in place. Do remember that it does not always pay to buy cheap.
5. Keep the software up to date
Whatever application you might have used for the website, ensure that you periodically update them. There could be some vulnerabilities that could be plugged with the patch upgrade. You can create email notifications whenever such upgrades are in place. If you are using any CMS, ensure that the updates are done periodically. Also, the CMS, plug-ins, apps and any scripts that you may have installed are all on the latest version. Some of the previous versions may have few weaknesses and could harm the security of your website.
6. Taking backups help
Do include a backup policy into your overall IT policy. It will help you in the untoward event of your site ever going down. You should ideally have a backup of your website every week. Having a backup of the site will help you restore your website and eventually recover from the mishap faster. It would help if you opted for automatic backups. So that you never miss taking a backup of your website on time.
Hackers are always on the prowl and the risk of a cyberattack on your website is extremely high. Apart from the loss of business, data, & reputation, you could also be faced with legal procedures and hefty fines. It always serves to have proper website security measures in place before it’s too late.
Worried about your website’s security? Ask an expert.