It seems everyone has a side gig these days. Which makes sense as this is an easy way to feed…
Cybersecurity is a top priority for anyone building a brand on the internet. As a business owner, you wouldn’t allow just anyone to have unfettered access to your data, ideas, content, client list, customer base or any sensitive information about your company. When a website is vulnerable, however, that is exactly what happens. Without adequate protection, you leave the door slightly open for someone with malicious intent to mosey on in. They can steal from you, ruin your brand’s reputation and cost you thousands of dollars to fix the breach.
Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?
Your website requires the best in security to ensure that it is impenetrable by cybercriminals and hackers. Hackers are crafty and launch an assault in less time than it takes for you to login into Facebook. What’s more, is the majority of cybercriminals use stealth to their advantage. The result is, you only become aware after the security breech.
Once the damage is done, salvaging your company’s reputation can take a toll on your brand’s reliability, the confidence your customer base has in your business and it can empty your coffers. Prevention when it comes to protecting your website is much better than curing it after a hacker has had his way with your site.
We know running an internet empire can be taxing and being well versed in the technical aspect of things may just not be a hat you wish to wear. That’s why we’ve decided to highlight the best practices you can use to help safeguard your website against hackers. We will discuss and outline everything you need to get ahead of hackers and prevent attacks from happening and the best part is your hosting provider can help you with all your security needs.
Let’s get started.
Through cPanel, the admin base of your website offers front door accessibility to your website. It is the door you want to be sealed with so many locks that a hacker wouldn’t dare. In fact, you want to conceal your admin file access. To do this first change the default database prefix to something random. Ensure that usernames and passwords are combinations of letters, numbers, and symbols and make them hard to guess (you can keep a physical written log) and change them often. Limit the number of login attempts to 3 or less within a specific frame of time, even with a password reset due to emails being susceptible to hacking as well. Never send login credentials via email, you never know when an unauthorized user has hacked an email account.
It is easy to get caught up in everything else you need to do for your website and forget to update your software and plugins. However, it is well to note that software updates are to eliminate security vulnerabilities. Leaving an update uninstalled exposes your website to a possible attack. Hackers are resourceful and quick, they can scan thousands of websites in less than an hour looking for weak points that will allow them access. Be mindful and update software as soon as they are available.
If your company has multiple users on your network then you must alert your office staff to potential dangers of cyber threats and inadvertently giving access to company servers. Put certain measures into place:
A web-based application firewall can be your choice of software or hardware but you need to have one installed. The firewall acts as a gateway ensuring all data passing through the firewall is scanned helping to filter out malicious files trying to gain access to your website’s server. Nowadays a lot of web-application firewalls are cloud-based and can be installed easily. They can also block hacking attempts, filter unwanted traffic from spammers and malicious bots.
When it comes to protecting your website there is no such thing as too much security. Though these are not as powerful and effective as a web-application firewall, installing internet security on your site can still help prevent attacks leaving hackers dead in the water. This is especially useful for WordPress powered websites. There are many plugins free and paid that over web-security to make it just that much harder for hackers to launch a successful takedown.
It is well worth the extra money to take advantage of monitoring tools for your website. Not only is it good for monitoring your site’s security status but it can also provide you with other helpful metrics including your site’s Uptime and overall functionality. Downtime is detrimental to any website and with website surveillance and monitoring tool you can get fast alerts sent to you so you can get IT on the problem fast.
For security reasons, you don’t want your website’s admin pages to be indexed by search engines. Having it index is like sending out an invitation to hackers and cybercriminals to have at it. Instead, you should use the robots_txt file so that search engines don’t index them that way hackers are unable to find them.
Unless accepting files from users is a part of your website function we would recommend restricting file uploads altogether. Why? Well allowing files to be uploaded to your server gives hackers or cybercriminals the foothold they need to wedge the door wide open to your website. Even while employing all of the aforementioned security features, hackers can hide bugs into any file rendering full access to all of your sensitive information included financial data of customers. If accepting files is necessary then the best practice would be to prevent direct access to them and to store them outside of your root directory. Speak to your hosting provider’s technical support for more help on this.
At this point with all the new updates to web browsers, this should go without saying but for the sake of website security we will say it again. Your website needs HTTPS protocol. SSL stands for ‘secure socket layer’ and they protect and seal communication between servers. So when your customers enter sensitive and confidential information like financial details and their home addresses that information is communicated securely and is encrypted. Google Chrome has made it a necessity for websites to have HTTPS enabled to help the internet be a safer place. This is a necessity and your first line of security.
Having form auto-fill enabled on your website leaves you vulnerable in the same way that allowing file uploads do. Hackers can upload scripts to attack your website and gain access, especially if a frequent user to your site has had their mobile devices stolen.
Back to prevention being better than cure but this one is more about being safe rather than sorry. You’ve worked hard on your online presence. It contains all of the content you’ve created, the product photos, and other precious data. Having all of that backed-up in a cloud-based server ensures that if a hacker does breach your security defences and you lose your website to their destruction, a back-up copy can be uploaded quickly while tech support troubleshoots and cleans the hack. Your back-up is the ace in your back pocket in the event that the unthinkable happens.
Unless you’re using a dedicated hosting solution your best bet in built-in security protection is a VPS server. VPS hosting marries the shared environment with the power and autonomy of a dedicated server. What’s more, is that it comes with built-in security and with managed VPS you can sit back and relax while your hosting company does all the heavy lifting for you. VPS packs a mad punch when it comes to security and guaranteed uptime.
Your business is a reflection of all of your creative flow, hard work and dedication. Building brand awareness with your audience and customer base is tantamount to your business’ success; while your reputation as an authority is also important to that success. Which means that your website and customer safety should be at the top of your priority list. It is better to ensure that you employ all safety and security measures on your website to prevent any detriment to your business. Your customers come to trust your brand and your success will continue as a result.