Website Security: Things to Consider
Website security plays a big part in building trust with your customers. Today, we’re going to look into the best practices for securing your online business platform. Read on!
When it comes to building a good website for your startup, website security should be a priority. The world wide web is full of endless possibilities but danger also lurks in its midst.
Through the years, large enterprises and small businesses alike have experienced the consequences of a flawed system. A lot have fallen victims to cybercrimes such as massive data breaches and cybersquatting.
In 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic, cybercrime activities took a surge for the worst. An Iomart study reports a growing frequency of large scale breaches. Marriot International’s data breach and Zoom’s credential hack are just some of the many stories that made headlines. Clearly, criminals keep busy even during a global crisis.
With that being said, we can conclude that there’s a dire need to put extra walls of protection. You have to assure your customers that your website can handle all transactions smoothly and reliably. After all, who wants to give sensitive information to a faulty platform?
But, how do you go about building an impenetrable fortress? Well, we start by identifying what the most common enemies are. Let’s first look into the recurring website threats in business.
Website Security: What are the risks?
Cybercrime refers to a broad list of criminal activities. Depending on the type of website or application you’re running, you’re exposed to all kinds of security threats. In the US, the banking industry suffers the most from security attacks, losing over $18 million. Likewise, utilities and software companies are also under grave threats.
Here are some of the most common security threats for businesses:
What’s in a name? Cybersquatting is the act of registering domain names that are similar or identical to a brand with the intent to sell it to them later. Basically, if your business doesn’t have an official website yet, you’re under threat of cybersquatters taking your name.
A cybersquatter, or domain squatter, makes a profit from the traffic gained from a company’s name popularity. Consequently, he or she could sell the domain to the brand at a high price.
How to protect yourself:
The US Government had taken measures to convict the practice of taking domain names in bad faith. If you’re being threatened by such an act, you can file a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) against the registrant.
2. Data Breach
Data breach incidents are higher than ever. Information security is constantly being threatened for small and large businesses alike. The tricky part about data breach incidents is they’re normally not caught on time. There aren’t tellable signs that you’ve been hacked until it’s already too late.
How to protect yourself:
Enlist security measures on your database. Encryption is one of the most popular methods of securing data in transit and at rest. Identity management is also important to ensure that only the right people have access to certain resources.
3. Phishing/Social Engineering Attacks
Phishing is the act of masquerading as a trusted entity to extract sensitive information. It usually comes in a disguised email that tricks the recipient to click or download an attachment. This becomes a legitimate threat to the business if an employee gives up access credentials to the hacker. Brand impersonation also makes up 83% of phishing cases.
How to protect yourself:
Train employees to recognize phishing attempts and limit user access to sensitive data. You can employ anti-phishing solutions such as detecting falsified emails to minimize risks and potential damage.
4. Denial of Service Attacks
Denial of Service (DoS) exploits network vulnerabilities by disrupting a website’s function so users are denied access. It’s difficult to tell if it’s DoS or a network connectivity error, but there are a few telltale signs of an attack. Unusually slow network performance is usually a giveaway.
How to protect yourself:
You can invest in tech or DoS services that will help you detect legitimate spikes in network traffic. You can also configure firewalls and routers to reject bogus traffic and ensure your tools are updated with the latest security patches.
How to Secure your Website
Startup owners may find website security sounding overly complicated with all the technical jargon thrown out, however, there are simple practices that don’t require too much technical background. You don’t have to be a tech expert to put up the basic defenses. Here are some simple ways to secure your website.
1. Use security plugins
Websites built with a content management system (CMS) can integrate security plugins. Security plugins prevent website hacking attempts and provide data protection. These website security plugins are easy to install and most website builders will give them for free.
It’s only a matter of which plugins you choose to install. For example, WordPress comes with plugins for specific security factors such as access limits, data management, and anti-spam protection.
Whether your website is CMS managed or built with HTML, security plugins are important. They’re your first lines of defense against malicious attacks for data and privacy.
2. Get SSL certified
This is especially crucial if you’re in the eCommerce industry. Securing an SSL certification is important if you deal with a lot of sensitive information like credit cards, personal data, and contact information.
A TLS/SSL certificate will give customers the go signal that it’s safe to provide personal data on a website. If you’re not familiar with the concept of HTTPS, it’s the secure form of HTTP. You can identify a web page is secure if there’s a little green lock on the browser bar and an extra “s” on its URL name.
Most website hosting providers already offer SSL certification for a small fee and will pretty much take care of the whole process of informing customers. You just need to invest in the certification itself.
3. Update your system
It may seem like a tedious task to regularly install updates, but it is critical in protecting your platform. The ever-changing landscape of IT gives hackers the advantage to develop tools and find new vulnerabilities.
Since a lot of tools are open-source, it gives hackers opportunities to exploit platforms. Hence, you have to make sure that your CMS, plugins, apps, and scripts are all up to date. A lot of website builders notify you of available updates and help you keep track of the previous ones.
4. Secure your passwords
Data leak incidents are as high as ever and one way you can prevent them is by using strong passwords. It may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of people are still using “123456” as their password in 2020.
So, be sure to follow the best password practices like avoiding dictionary words, predictable number combinations, and adjacent keyboard combinations. You can use trusted password managers such as Lastpass and 1Password if you’re not confident in your password creation skills.
5. Invest in a backup
At the end of the day, there’s still a risk of hackers outsmarting your security effort. Even if you follow all these steps on how to make a website secure, there’s still a risk of cyberattacks. You can never truly secure yourself from malicious hackers but you can make a plan B.
Making a backup is a wise move in case of data breaches. Manually backup your website regularly or invest in automatic backups for extra peace of mind.
Website Security: Building your Foundation
If you don’t want to fall victim to drastic cyber attacks, you must build a website that can’t be easily uprooted. Thus it needs a strong foundation of thoughtful code. Hence, the ones who can boost your website security are the ones who built it. Your website security heavily relies on the work of your software developers. But how can you find the best experts for the job?
Full Scale can help you recruit the top developers for your project. Whether you need to build a reliable website or amp up the performance of an existing one, we can help! We have software developers, project managers, and QA specialists ready to be deployed.
Interested? Talk to us!