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Hackers, Beware! / How to secure your website

What is Website Security?

Website security refers to the protection of personal and business-facing websites from complex cyberattacks. This comes through a range of software, security certifications and manual monitoring. It’s important to conduct this regularly to keep your website safe and secure. It will also help protect your business reputation and external user damage if an attack were to ever happen.

Keeping a website secure is important for businesses both big and small. It keeps cybercriminals from accessing sensitive information and compromising your website. Not only hindering your online business but the security of your user’s personal data. The impact of an attack can be long lasting, not only damaging your business reputation but making you unable to set up your digital business altogether. 

A website with poor security is a major problem for your business, clients and customers. Routinely examine your website security protocols and associated software to ensure that you are protected from online attacks. Here is what needs to be done to keep your website secure:

  • Website Hosting

Website hosting is when a provider allows a brand to publish its website on the internet. They store all the information and files on their server. Once a user accesses the website, they are connected to this server and receive this content. There are two options for hosting a website: shared hosting and dedicated hosting. 

Shared hosting is cheaper and requires minimal technical knowledge, however, it is vulnerable to higher security risks as they share your resources. A dedicated hosting platform solely hosts your website and whilst they are expensive and require technical knowledge, they can significantly lower security risks.

  • SSL Certificate

According to Norton, an SSL certificate is ‘ a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection’. This ensures that all data between two parties is private and secure, preventing hackers from stealing sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and addresses. 

To obtain an SSL certificate, you need to go through a Certification Authority who can verify the safety of your website and ensure users are safe using it. There are a range of SSL Certificates and SSL providers who often charge for their services. However, if your website is registered in Google you can go through Let’s Encrypt, a popular CA that provides certificates in the interest of creating a safer Internet.

  • Anti- Malware / Firewall Software

These two pieces of software are crucial in keeping your website secure and safe from malicious attacks. If you’re just setting up your website or updating this software, ensure you do thorough research on providers and what’s included in the software. As some software has more security capabilities than others. 

Malware is highly advanced software that will damage your website without your consent; often targeting forgotten assets still available on your website. Malware detection software will scan your websites and associated files, to detect malware. If this is detected on your website, they will remove this from your website. If you want to run a full malware scan consider using Sucuri or Wordfence Security for WordPress websites, however, there are plenty of others available. 

Integrating a firewall is essential too. Firewalls protect against cyber attackers, shielding your website from malicious network attacks. They can also prevent malicious software on your website. By installing a WAF, or Web Application Firewall you are setting up a filtering system that allows certain bots through and blocks the suspicious ones that can cause your website to shut down.

  • Change passwords and make them uncrackable

Updating your password regularly limits breaches on multiple accounts and unsolicited access to your associated website accounts. This also prevents the use of saved passwords, which whilst they provide ease of access if someone were to gain access to these they could compromise your accounts. 

When changing your passwords try to make them as unique and complex as possible. Include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols alike. Make this longer than 8 characters, to make this harder to crack and don’t use these passwords on other accounts. If you’re struggling to come up with strong passwords, we suggest using a password generator like Lastpass

  • Regularly update your website and plugins

As mentioned in our Website Maintenance blog post it’s very easy for hackers to target your website if it’s sat dormant for too long. Ensure you both have automatic updates running on your website and manually check your website to see it’s running on the latest software. This software both optimises your website offering and often brings security patches, to prevent hackers from gaining access to your website.

  • Look out for SPAM

SPAM is essentially digital junk mail that can be very harmful to your online business. This creates a serious threat of criminals hacking your accounts, stealing your data, revenue and spreading malware. SPAM can come in different forms from phishing emails to Advance fee Spams, but there are several ways to spot SPAM:

  • The sender’s domain does not match with their name.
  • They address you as a customer or friend
  • They are basic SPAG errors in their messages
  • It promises a financial reward.

 As a rule of thumb if you receive a questionable email, block the address, delete the message, don’t respond to them and don’t click on the attachments! This could hold malicious software that gains access to your business and bombards you with SPAM emails non-stop. For more information read our SPAM … Cont’d Blog Post

  • Regularly backup your website

This should be a no-brainer for any website owner. A backup duplicates your website data including files, media, databases and assets. This prevents essential website data from being permanently deleted and acts as a ‘website twin’, ready to use if your website was compromised. Creating backups of your website, ensure you have a recent version of your website if it would have to be launched. It’s important to remember when doing these backups that they will take time. Especially if you have a large or complicated website. So try and do this when there is less website traffic. Remember backups keep your website safe and sound if there was a malicious attack.

Conclusion

When it comes to website security, there’s a lot to think about, but it’s important to be aware of these digital threats and how they could impact your business.

If you’re worried about your website security, our dedicated team can help you tackle any website threats and build a secure framework for your website. 

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  • Written by Jess Cory, July 12 2021