4 Easy Ways to Keep Your Website Secure
Website owners who don’t have formal training or work experience in IT often feel nervous and out of their depth when the subject of cybersecurity is broached. Yet, cybersecurity isn’t as difficult to understand as some cybersecurity experts make it out to be. In fact, the majority of security controls on a website can be applied by someone with no tech background.
Hackers follow the Pareto Principle — they get the most success when they concentrate on the simplest loopholes in targeted websites. Before you contact an internet security expert, make sure you have covered all the basics by applying the following simple but highly effective measures.
Apply Updates Promptly
Many websites now run on a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify. CMS developers will regularly release updates that seek to improve security and functionality. In addition, website owners will want to extend the features of their site by installing plugins and extensions. These too are regularly updated.
An out-of-date CMS or plugin is a danger to the security of your website. Consistent with the Pareto Principle, hackers often focus on low hanging fruit by scanning and exploiting websites that are still running CMS and plugin versions with well-known vulnerabilities.
Robust Password Policy
Passwords are the keys of the internet universe. In physical security, the easier it is for someone to access or replicate your keys, the higher the likelihood that they can gain unauthorized entry into your premises. The same holds true for passwords on your website.
If hackers can figure out the administrative password of your site, they’ll have a front door entry that gives them the power to do whatever they please. Applying best practices in password management on your site can make it that much harder for an attacker to gain full control.
The more complex your password is, the harder it is to crack. Your passwords should be at least 8 characters long and include a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. Letters and numbers shouldn’t be sequential (e.g. 12345 or abcde). Passwords must be changed every 3 to 6 months.
For large websites with dozens or hundreds of users, using an access rights management software may be necessary.
Use a Reputable Host
Your website may be accessed from anywhere in the world but its files must reside on a specific server at a web hosting company. Your choice of web host is crucial for your site’s security. Remember, your website host has access to your raw files. Therefore, no matter how robust the controls you put in place for the front end of your website, all that won’t matter if your web host doesn’t adhere to best practices in website security.
So take time to compare different web hosting companies before you settle on anyone. The best web hosts are keen on listing the kind of security measures they have in place including security certifications they’ve received and international security standards they follow. They should have a robust disaster recovery procedure that ensures your site and its data can be quickly restored in the event that their main servers are down.
Backup Your Data
It’s vital that your host has a disaster recovery process that ensures they can speedily restore operations following a disruptive event. Nevertheless, backing up your website and its data is primarily your responsibility. Law enforcement, regulators, customers, and employees will hold you responsible if your organization’s information is permanently lost.
Regularly backup your website files. Many web hosts will provide this backup service at an extra fee. Nevertheless, it may be best to do this on your own or have an arrangement with another cloud service provider. That’s because you can never really be certain that your web host keeps your backups in a different physical location from their production servers.
Some CMS have extensions or plugins that will automatically backup your website’s files.
You’ve invested too much time and money in setting up your website to let it all go down the drain. Hiring a cybersecurity expert to help firm up your defenses is the right thing to do. But before you seek external assistance, follow the above tips to ensure you have the right security foundation.