Cybersecurity is one of those things you might think about occasionally — or perhaps only when your site is the victim of a hacker. However, cybersecurity should be something you think about before you need it. Making your site as secure as possible will help prevent an attack before it even happens.
The last two years saw an increase in the number of cyberattacks. Just because the issue isn’t at the top of the news headlines doesn’t mean it isn’t still a serious concern. There are some definite things you need to consider when it comes to running a website and online security.
1. Your Customers’ Private Info
Your customers’ private info is your concern. Your customers trust you to keep their information safe. You definitely don’t want to gain a reputation for making them vulnerable. There are a number of things you need to consider in regards to keeping private information safe.
- Who has access to that information? Have they signed non-disclosure agreements?
- Are you encrypting sensitive information with a Secure Socket Layer (SSL)?
- Be sure you follow any laws regarding the collection of payment data. For example, you will need to use a PCI-Compliant Provider, such as PayPal.
When a customer shares his or her private information with you, he trusts you to keep that information safe. In some cases, you might even be liable for letting sensitive information get into the wrong hands.
2. Protecting Your Site From Attacks
One of the easiest ways to protect your website from cyberattacks is to keep everything updated. If you are running on a CMS platform such as WordPress, this becomes even more vital to prevent hackers from getting inside your files and throwing up a message you don’t want or gaining access to sensitive information. You should update everything, including any plugins or scripts running on your site.
WordPress will automatically inform you about available updates for themes, plugins and the platform itself. If you are not running on WP, you’ll need to be aware of any updates to your servers and additional security measures your hosting company recommends.
3. Your Web Hosting Company Plays a Role
Some web hosting companies take security more serious than others. Check reviews and ask questions before choosing who to host your website through. You will want a host that offers an SSL secure server, secure email, SSH secure Shell access, a data center that is secure and backups in case your site is hacked and needs restored.
If your hosting company isn’t secure, it could be subject to anything from back-door attacks to DDoS attacks, which can cause your site to go dark as hackers flood the system with requests. Choose your hosting company carefully. Make sure you read plenty of reviews before making a decision, too. If others are complaining about cybersecurity vulnerabilities, you’re better off finding a different server.
4. Educating Your Customers
Another element to keeping your customers safe is to take the time to educate them on your practices. Make sure any form on your site has your branding. This allows the consumer to see that the form comes from you.
Should you switch your site to HTTPS, using an SSL server? It will definitely make your site more secure, and most hosting companies offer this option to their customers. However, you should also be aware of new security features on the rise, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS). This type of security actually takes encrypted data and splits it up across two different servers. Even if a hacker can intercept and decipher the coded information, they will only have a portion of it. You can use TLS with HTTPS as well.
6. Complex Passwords
One key thing you’ll want to do is to create the most complex password possible, but one that you can still remember. A complex password is a lot harder for a criminal to figure out than a simple one that can be easily guessed.
Make sure your password:
- Has at least eight characters or more
- Has capitals and lowercase letters
- Has numbers and letters
- Has at least one special character
By adding these elements, you make your password a lot harder to guess than say simply using your last name.
7. Web Cybersecurity Tools
When you’ve taken every other step possible to secure your site, you’ll also want to consider some of the web security tools that can add yet another element of security to your website. Tools such as Netsparker and OpenVAS scan your site and give you a report of any vulnerabilities, so you can fix them.
If your site is on a WordPress platform, you can also install plugins, such as a firewall. This will add yet another level of security to your site, stopping any attacks by recognizing patterns in queries. You can block offending IPs, whitelist your own IP and even block countries where known hackers attack from.
Cybersecurity Will Be a Concern for Years
As long as there are websites, there will be hackers trying to access the files of those websites. You have to be proactive to stay ahead of hackers, who can be quite savvy and technologically advanced.
Put the time and effort into cybersecurity now so you don’t have to completely rebuild and rework your site later.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
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