There’s an estimated one billion websites worldwide. The aim and purpose of each website may be different. However, there’s one thing they all have in common – the need to be secure. With the constant increase in cyber-attacks and security breaches, users are placing more demands on websites to take security seriously. Your customers want to know they can trust you. They do not want sensitive information, shared on your website to be stolen or otherwise mismanaged. Protect this and you’re one step closer to gaining your customer’ trust.
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Eight things secured websites have in common
The question therefore is what are some ways in which you can ensure your website is well secure? Here are 8 things they have in common – and what you should add to your security plan.
- They choose a secured web host
- Incorporate website security software
- Use a firewall
- Install SSL certificate
- Use two-step authentication
- Use website monitoring software
- Has secure website backup
- Has DDoS protection in place
1. The Web Host It Uses
Your domain name is where you live on the internet. It’s your ‘web address.’ It represents your business to the world, but to do that you need a host for your website.
Some web hosts offer free plans, but the bandwidth they give you is limited and you’ll have to deal with the embedded ads on your website, lots of them. For those and other reasons, it’s better to go with a premium plan to host your website. However, that is also dependent on your objective for your website. But, whichever you choose, ensure your web host provides server security features as these can help protect the data uploaded to your website
Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) makes uploading files much safer. So before you make your decision, check if the web host you’re considering offers it. Another thing to consider when choosing a secure web host is whether it has file backup services.
There should also be a public security policy that indicates how your potential host performs as it relates to keeping up to date with security upgrades. So how do you find a host that had all of the specifications noted above? Research! Research! That’s the key!
2. It Includes Security In Its Design
While aesthetics are important when designing a website, security should be your top priority, particularly if you’re planning to do e-commerce or collect users’ sensitive information for other purpose. One simple thing you can do to build your website with security in mind is to minimize add-ons and plugins.
Hackers may be lurking and one click on an add-on or plugin that has been breached is all it takes to compromise and or destroy your website and entire business.
Only use add-on and plugins that are necessary. If you don’t need them, forget it and move on.
3. It Uses A Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have customers waiting to welcome you to the World Wide Web as soon as your site is launched? While that might not be the case, one thing you can be sure of is that someone and something else is waiting.
Cyber- criminals and a host of cyber threats are waiting for you as soon as you start. Automated bots are constantly on the lookout for vulnerable websites, particularly new websites because they are generally believed to be easy targets.
Since cyber criminals are prepared to attack you from the start, you have to be ready to fight back too and adding a web application firewall (WAF) is one way of doing this. They might not make you immune to attacks, but they will, at least, give you a fighting chance.
4. It Has Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Encryption Installed
There are standards and guidelines developed by the industry as it relates to websites and security. Encryption is one of these guidelines.
For example, if you’re collecting sensitive and personal information from users, you must make sure that your connection is encrypted with a Secure Sockets Layer, SSL Certificate.
It serves pretty much like a 24/7 security system that protects your data transfers from being intercepted by unauthorized users.
SSL certificates provide secure connections from a web server to a browser and authenticate your website by activating the https protocol and the padlock. The whole aim of SSL Certificates is to prevent hackers from stealing data.
It works by scrambling the information you send across the internet. This ensures that only the intended receiver sees it. And let’s say hackers were to intercept the information, which includes, but is not limited to, username, password, address, credit card and banking information, SSL encryption prevents them from unscrambling or decrypting the info because they wouldn’t have the key to do so. learn more about SSL encryption here.
5. It Uses Two-Step Authentication
Two-factor authentication as the name suggests is a two-step process that’s used to authenticate users before they are allowed to log into a website.
If someone, other than the legitimate user, guesses a password and tries to log into their website, email, etc., two-factor authentication will prevent them from getting in. It achieves this by taking additional security measures, such as:
- Asking very specific questions like: who was your favorite teacher in high school or the name of your first pet, etc.
- Requesting a code that may be sent via text message or email.
It doesn’t matter what method is used to verify users, make two-step authentication a feature of your website, because it give you and visitors to your site, the assurance that their sensitive information is being protected from cyber criminals.
6. It Is Monitored
Website monitoring lets you know what’s up or down with your site. One of the advantages of monitoring your website is that it alerts you when cyber criminals are lurking or trying to get into your system. Your web monitoring tool will send out notifications by emails, to the account holder. This is typically the webmaster.
This therefore gives you the opportunity to rectify what’s happening in your website’s background. And, if necessary avert security issues that could affect the end-user.
7. It’s Regularly Backed Up
Given that security systems or measures do not provide 100 percent guarantee against security breaches, you have to take every step to make your website as secure as possible. Backing up your information regularly is one of those steps. This prevents you from losing all of your data, in the event of a security breach.
So, if your web host doesn’t provide regular or adequate backup service, it’s your responsibility to find a host or software that can. Aim to create backups of your data frequently, each day if possible. The rule is to always have the latest version of your website backed up. You can revert to it, should the need arise.
8. It Uses DDoS Protection
An attempt to overwork your system and waste the resources on your network, an app or service, is known as a Distributed Denial of Service or DDoS attack. The ultimate aim is deny users access site and this is done by flooding your site with illegitimate traffic.
When the traffic becomes too much for your site to handle it slows down, goes offline or worst yet, crashes. DDoS protection defends your website against these attacks by analyzing and blocking attacks based on traffic patterns.
For more information about security risks that plague small businesses, read this article.
The Internet is an amazing tool and operating a successful website on it is a great feat. However, you should never forget to your website’s security needs. Neglecting your cyber-security needs could ruin your reputation and your business.