Want to save time and money? Secure your website today!
If you live in a rough neighbourhood, you could be vulnerable to theft and burglary. You might choose to beef up the security measures around your home. The internet is a dangerous place, full of hackers and bots trying to steal and corrupt your data. Any weakness is exploited and if you don’t plan ahead, you could be facing an expensive re-build or worse, having to explain to your customers how their data became lost or stolen.
Your website is only as secure as you choose it to be. The more that time goes on, the weaker your website becomes. Without a regular security and maintenance package, you leave yourself vulnerable to an attack.
Here are 5 ways to secure your website:
1. Keep a Regular Backup
Keeping a backup of your website is as essential as saving your latest Word document. Everyone has experienced a loss of work at one time or another and it can be devastating. Imagine losing your entire website! Websites are vulnerable to hackers, spam and malware attacks and data corruption just like computers are. Ensure your web design agency offers a monthly backup option for your website and consider it as part of your budget when planning for your website maintenance. Having a backup adds a solid layer of insurance from downtime.
2. Security Basics
Your web developer may offer a range of security options such as an internet firewall, malware protection and essential basics such as creating your robots.txt file and creating secure passwords for your website’s control panel and SQL databases. Or, they may not. The simplest of security protocols can be overlooked when developing or managing a website and can lead to a fatal loss or corruption of data. Discuss the security protocols that you can expect as a standard from your website design agency.
3. Update your Content Management System (CMS)
It is very likely that your website utilises a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla! or Magento. This is a system that offers the administrator a back-end interface (what the website owner sees) accessible via a username and password to make edits and changes to the content of the website. Typically these CMS are open-source which means that anyone can view the code and this offers hackers an opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in the system.
Systems like WordPress are regularly updated with bug fixes which strengthen your website against rogue hackers and malware attacks. But without ensuring your CMS is regularly updated to the latest version, you could fall behind on essential security updates.
The front-end of your website (what your clients and visitors see) AKA “theme” or “template” will have been developed to integrate with your chosen CMS. Unless your theme / template is updated at the same time it may not work with the updated version of your CMS. Your website developer should be able to update both at the same time.
4. Use a Strong Password
Recent events show us hacking and cyber thefts are very real. Attacks on online retailers such as Ashely Madison, JD Wetherspoon and Sony make this clear. In the Ashley Madison case, information of nearly 37m members was made public. Personal details of up to 657,000 customers of JD Wetherspoon were stolen in Dec 2015. In the case of Sony, hackers released sensitive corporate information that brought Sony to its knees and terrified Corporate America. Your Control Panel, FTP, CMS and SQL Database passwords should all be at least 8 characters long and use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters. It might be hard to remember a strong password, but it’s far worse to suffer an attack and loss of sensitive data. Software platforms for password maintenance can make storing passwords a simple task.
5. Use a Reliable Hosting Platform
Hosting nowadays is affordable. But is it secure? Is your website hosted on a dedicated or shared server? Is the data on your website sensitive and should you be taking every precaution necessary to ensure a secure storage solution? Hosting packages vary – look for one that has built in security protocols and 24/7 support. Recovering from a malware attack could cost you a lot more in the long run than paying for a secure storage solution up-front.
Assuming you are safe from hackers is never wise. Ask your web developer or design agency for a consultation on the security of your website and make it a priority – planning ahead will save you time and money!