Many business owners wait until it’s too late to start thinking about their website’s cyber security. They believe their business is safe and won’t get hacked, even though it happens to websites every day. More often than not, those websites had a proper security plan in place, it just wasn’t enough.
There’s no time like the present to consider your business website’s data security and take the right steps towards making it breach-proof. The earlier you start, the better. Here are five ways to ensure data security for your business website:
A web application firewall (WAF) is the first line of defense for your site. It inspects all your site’s incoming traffic and filters out malicious requests, including spam, brute force attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and many more.
Most modern WAFs are cloud-based plug-and-play services that are easy to use. You simply sign up for a modest monthly subscription fee, proceed through the setup process, and your site is protected.
If you plan to transmit sensitive information on your site, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or login credentials, then you need Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. This technology creates an encrypted link between a user’s browser and your site, so information shared between the two is encrypted instead of simply transmitted as plain text. Keeping customer information safe is crucial, especially for financial transactions, making SSL technology an essential part of your site’s cyber security.
It’s your responsibility as a site owner to keep all of your site’s software up to date. Outdated software is a major security risk, as it may have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
CMS providers, such as WordPress and Joomla, are constantly checking for and fixing holes in their systems. They release regular patches and updates with upgraded software.
All you have to do is run the updates, so check for them regularly to make sure your site is running all the latest software. Don’t forget about your site’s third-party plugins, either.
Brute force attacks that involve trying to guess username and password combinations have become more and more common. Every day, thousands of these attacks take place.
You can drastically reduce the odds of a successful brute force attack on your site by changing your passwords periodically and setting up strong passwords for your website server, administrator, and database. Use a combination of alphanumeric characters, symbols, and upper and lower-case letters. Make sure your password is at least 12 characters long and avoid using the same password for all your logins.
Improve your password security even more with two-step authentication. This requires entering the correct password and verifying your identity through your mobile device to log into your site.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and your cyber security is only as strong as your employees. One wrong click could jeopardize your company, so educate your employees on proper cyber security practices.
Hackers often create emails, links, and attachments that look very similar to ordinary business requests. Train your employees to recognize these and report them to your IT department.
Require that your employees use strong passwords, and advise them not to write down or share them. To make sure employees use passwords that meet your requirements, you can have your IT department program those requirements into company computers.
Also, make sure your employees are aware of the security risks posed by public Wi-Fi. It’s easy for hackers to intercept data by being on the same network as their target. Instruct employees to never access sensitive company data over a public network.
No matter how thorough your protective measures are, there is always the chance that your site could become compromised. If so, backing up your data can be the difference between a huge loss and a minor inconvenience. Schedule regular data backups to stay prepared.
When you back up your data, make one backup in the cloud and one on a hard drive. If the cloud is compromised, you have the hard drive backup available. If something happens to the hard drive, such as a fire or flood, you can retrieve your data from the cloud.
Keeping your business website secure takes a combination of knowledge and preparation. Using security technology, staying up to date on your site’s software, and setting up strong passwords is sufficient protection for most threats.
After that, it’s a matter of educating everyone at your company about cyber security. In case of any worst-case scenarios, backing up your data regularly ensures you never suffer too big a loss.
About the Author
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.