One of the most important topics to discuss when the online realm is concerned is definitely online security. While an average online consumer probably doesn’t sweat too much about this issue, online business owners and website owners are definitely the ones that should. As a business owner, your top priority should be cratering a safe environment for your consumers and visitors.
However, unless you know precisely what to look for and how to actually make your website a safe environment for anyone visiting, you might have a difficult time ensuring it. That’s why we’ve created a list of some of the crucial aspects of website security and the things you’ll need to pay special attention to when ensuring it.
Choose your web host carefully
First and foremost, unless you’re really careful when choosing your website host chances are that you won’t have a particularly good time. A solid hosting company, for instance, won’t leave room for any backdoor access to your website. They will take care of the regular maintenance, provide you with proper uptime and, most importantly, proper security which promises that you’ll be able to offer your visitors top-notch user experience.
Many business owners make the mistake of choosing to go with the cheapest hosting company, not realizing that, in most cases, this is the wrong way to go. We’re not saying that you should choose the most expensive one either; simply make sure that you’re happy with what the company offers you and don’t let the price of their services affect your final decision.
Create strong admin passwords
Sometimes, we may tend to forget the most important and obvious step regarding internet security and that is passwords. Unless you create a strong admin password and thus ensure that your website is not easily accessible, all of your other efforts will be in vain. The passwords that are easy to remember are usually very easily hacked with brute force attacks, so make sure you create an elaborate combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers when creating your admin pass.
Moreover, avoid using the same password twice under any circumstances and never write down your password in digital form and store it somewhere on your computer. If you’re unable to remember your passwords, however, you should write them on a piece of paper and carry them in your wallet. This method, although old-fashioned, has proven to be the most secure one.
Use multi-factor authentication
No matter how strong your passwords are, chances are that sooner or later they can be breached. The fact is that with the technology constantly evolving. It’s only a matter of time before hackers will equip themselves with new tools or software that will allow them to penetrate even the strongest of passwords.
You should implement multi-factor authentication for any relevant account.
The way it works is that it adds another layer of security to your login credentials. In other words, aside from requiring your username and password to login you will also have to provide a security code or a token that will be sent to your phone or other mobile device. The additional layer of security is vital as it makes it more difficult for potential hackers to tap into all of your devices at the same time and find all the information they might need to access your sensitive data.
Make sure that your web software is up to date
If your website is hosted on a CMS, do know that the majority of them receives regular software updates and patches. These updates and patches do not only serve a purpose of enabling you to use new functions and features but, more often than not, they contain necessary security upgrades as well. Unless you make sure that you update your web software on a regular basis, chances are that your website will easily become vulnerable to outside attacks and prone to security breaches. And since that’s definitely something you do wish to avoid, try to stay on top of any and all software updates.
As an example, if your website is hosted by WordPress, avoid using third-party plugins and updates. The main reason is that the third-party software may cause conflicts in your website code that can create vulnerabilities and security risks you weren’t even aware of.
Instead, work on developing your own website features that will be compatible with your website’s code. This option will definitely cost you a bit more in a financial sense, but it will certainly pay off from the security point of view.
Use an SSL Certificate
Simply put, Secure Socket Layer certificates will provide your website with a secure connection for transferring data online.
Websites that feature this security measure are sharing encrypted data instead of what is known as “plain text,” where data is being moved back and forth without any encryption. That’s precisely why the online users are more inclined to do business with websites that feature an “HTTPS” prefix in their URL. The website that begin with “HTTP” are a problem.
The “S” stands for “secure” in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). By implementing an SSL Certificate as an additional layer of security in your website, you’ll provide your customers with a safe environment. The SSL certificate is where they can do business and leave their sensitive information without having to worry that it will be easily accessible by a third party.
Restrict admin logins
While we have already mentioned the importance of having a strong admin password in place, we haven’t discussed the importance of not sharing that password with just about anyone. The fact is the more people knowing your password makes your site more vulnerable. Having access to the admin account makes an even higher vulnerablility on your website.
That’s why you should restrict admin logins to only specific employees and IPs. Protecting and paying attention in this way and you’ll be restricting access to your website to anyone with an IP that’s not included in the list. Protect your site no matter if anyone in or out of your company manages to obtain your admin pass or not.
Monitor your network
By conducting regular network audits and keeping a close eye on everything that’s going on around you ensures that your network is safe and that you have proper security measures in place. You should also conduct regular penetration tests. What “a test” means is that you should simulate cyberattacks on your network or specific areas of your network in order to ensure that the security measures you have in place are sufficient.
If you have done enough protection for now — great. You may also discover that there’s any room for improvement. If this is not something you’re particularly handy with, make sure you hire the right professionals that will take care of this important step for you.
Play well with Google
Finally, while this part doesn’t concern your website security per se from your standpoint, it does play a huge role in making your website more appealing to Google. Generally speaking, Google favors websites that are safe to browse, the ones that feature excellent web design and that are well-optimized and organized. It’s no secret that the websites that Google deems worthy (according to these and some other parameters) will have an easier time reaching a higher position on SERP’s.
Taking care of your SERP’s will, in turn, bring more business your way. It becomes quite obvious that striving towards making your website as secure as possible won’t be appreciated solely by your audience, which is excellent news for anyone trying to reach true business success. These security steps are the most crucial ones you will definitely want to implement in your website.
You’ll want to make sure that the audience finds your site appealing enough to want to do business with you. Of course, there are certainly other things you can do to boost your business’s appeal, but that’s a topic for another time.