While website design and development has become seamless, cybersecurity remains a challenge for website owners. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated means to attack websites.
After a record-setting 2021, more than 90% of data breaches in the first quarter of 2022 were found to be cyberattack-related. A double-digit increase in data breaches in the first quarter points to the likeliness of ever-growing cyberattacks in the future.
Hackers often target your customers and website visitors, stealing their sensitive information like credit card details. If your website gets hacked, you will lose your data, not to mention your brand trust. Not paying attention to web security is like setting light to your website design and development.
The good news is you can safeguard your website from hackers with a few best practices. Let’s check them out.
Table of Contents
1. Keep Your Software Up-To-Date
One of the most important things you can do to keep your website secure is to keep all your software is up-to-date. Hackers often look for flaws in your website’s security infrastructure.
In 2021, the world witnessed one of the most serious vulnerabilities – the Log4J. By December 2021, it was mainly responsible for an all-time high of 925 cyber-attacks a week per organization. The vulnerability prompted hackers to exploit unpatched systems (or systems without patch updates).
As an outdated system can’t protect your website from cyberattacks, keep all of your software up-to-date. Think of it as having the latest versions of all the plugins, applications, themes, web servers, operating systems, and your content management system (CMS).
Most vendors offer an auto-update feature. Keep it ON to download the latest updates for your CMS and other software. Regularly look for updates if au-updates are unavailable. Also, be sure to choose reliable plugins and themes for your website. You will need plugins and themes that receive regular updates and excellent customer support.
2. Implement a Strong Password Policy
Another important way to keep your website secure is by implementing a strong password policy throughout your organization. While this sounds obvious, many people continue to disregard this simple cybersecurity practice. It’s no surprise that in 2020, stolen or weak credentials caused nearly 80% of the total data breaches.
Whether it is ecommerce website hosting or CMS admin panel, you must use long, complex, and unique passwords. You must also have a multifactor authentication in place wherever possible.
When setting passwords, you should:
- Never use personal information like names, birthdays, addresses, or phone numbers.
- Always use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers, and symbols.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Never use the same password for more than one account.
- Avoid using real words like pronouns and standalone words.
3. Limit Access to Your Admin Pages
Limiting access to your website’s admin pages is as necessary as any other security measure. Think of it as an additional layer of security, especially for your backend. Depending on your CMS, you can use more than one way to limit admin access.
For example, you can limit admin access by IP addresses for a WordPress website. It’s a smart way to protect it from unauthorized access. Only the team members with authorized IP addresses can access your admin page.
Another way is to limit access based on user roles and permissions. Security experts recommend keeping the new user role as a “Subscriber” for WordPress websites. The rest of your team members can have access depending on their user roles – like authors, editors, and admins.
4. Use Encryption for Your Login Pages
When you build an ecommerce website, encrypting your login pages is a must. Hackers usually go after sensitive information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials.
Without security measures like SSL encryption, hackers can intercept this sensitive data as it passes between servers. With SSL, the information gets encrypted. As a result, no one can access it except for the intended recipient.
Moreover, an SSL certificate also indicates that your users/customers are communicating with the genuine server. This eliminates the risk of spoofing attacks, where hackers disguise a communication from an unknown source as the one coming from a trusted server.
5. Perform Regular Backups
Regular backups can protect your website should it become inaccessible, experience a glitch, or fall prey to a cyberattack. Nearly 66% of small and mid-sized companies either go out of business or shut down for a day (or more) after getting hit by a data breach. Unless you want to be one of them, make data backup an integral part of your website maintenance plan.
Most website hosting companies provide data backup to their servers. However, you must also have at least a couple of additional backups.
To fight cyberattacks efficiently, you should:
- Back up all your files, including themes, plugins, content folder, configurations, etc.
- Back up your files at least once every day. Or you can create a backup schedule depending on your needs.
- Try to automate your data backups as much as possible.
- Store your backups in a safe, offsite location.
- Create a recovery plan to get your website quickly up and running after a data breach.
- Check your backups during your regular website health checkup.
6. Use a Secure Host
A secure web hosting and support provider can safeguard your website for good. They will protect customer data from hackers, not to mention ensure a higher uptime.
When choosing a web hosting company, consider the following.
- Always look for uptime. It should be more than 99%. Otherwise, your website will keep crashing.
- Take a look at the available storage. You should be able to store all your files on the host’s server.
- Explore customer support resources. You will need a host with excellent 24/7 support.
- Consider any special features you need. For example, if you want to build an ecommerce website, consider a company specializing in ecommerce website hosting.
- Finally, know how much does it cost to host a small business website. Compare the prices and see which one fits your budget.
7. Monitor Your Website for Suspicious Activity
In addition, you need to monitor your website for any suspicious activity. It needs to be a part of your regular website health checkup. You have to keep your eyes out for things like unusual login attempts, strange traffic patterns, and sudden changes in your website’s files or database.
Unusual and sudden traffic spikes may indicate a Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. It involves overwhelming a target website with fake traffic. If you see strange traffic patterns, take steps to strengthen your security against potential DDoS attacks.
Likewise, if you see any other suspicious activity, investigate it immediately. And take the necessary steps to secure your website. Remember, even the slightest delay in response can put you out of business.
Every business needs a website. But without proper security measures, your website will cause more harm than good to your brand. Think about strengthening your website’s security the moment website development begins. This means your website will be safe from the prying eyes of hackers since day one. These seven easy-to-implement tips should help you put your best foot forward in this regard.
For more information on website security, secure web hosting, and website design and development, reach out to the experts at Watermark Design. Call us to set up a consultation.