What Is Website Security?
Website security protects your website and data from cybercriminals and hackers. It’s a preventative action that helps you avoid having your most sensitive information compromised. As the internet has evolved, modern technology has opened the door to a whole new world of possibilities. In today’s society, more and more consumers are turning to online shops and businesses to make purchases. This requires businesses and their customers to exchange sensitive information over the internet.
With customers needing to input things such as their credit card numbers, home address, or bank account information, the increased need for online security became evident. Cybercriminals can do more than just steal your sensitive information these days. They can slow your website, remove it from search engine results, replace website content, or crash your site completely. That’s why cybersecurity is more important today than ever.
The Introduction of Website Security Programs
As the need for tighter online security started to grow, IT professionals began to develop website security software and programs to make the process seamless. Most web development or IT businesses stress the importance of these programs and software to the businesses they serve. If you want to avoid security issues, you need to make sure that your site admin uses best practices to protect your website and any data that needs to be secured.
There are several website security steps you need to take to make sure you are safe. When you use the best internet security software, you get the peace of mind you need to ensure the future success of your business. In order to secure your website, you need:
- An SSL Certificate. In fact, websites that don’t use an SSL certificate today will be flagged by Google. That’s because the most popular search engine changed their requirements for ranking in the summer of 2018. If you want to rank with Google today, you need to protect the information transferred from your site to your server with an SSL certificate. It is the most basic form of website security and protects the information you gather, such as emails and credit card numbers, from cybercriminals. If your website does not use an SSL certificate, it will be labeled as insecure. This is a red flag for today’s online shoppers as they become more and more aware of potential security issues.
- A web application firewall. Also known as a WAF, web application firewalls stop attacks on websites that aren’t heavily visited. Cybercriminals today can use malicious bots to exploit websites that are particularly vulnerable.
- A website scanner. One of the major issues facing online security breaches today is that many cyber attacks go undetected. The longer it takes to find the source, the costlier it will be to your business. When it comes to online attacks, time is of the essence. Website scanners automatically look for malware, compromises, and other potential vulnerabilities. They allow you to be proactive with your website. If you use a prominent website scanner, they will automatically remove malware and alert you of potential threats as they scan your website daily. This can be a great asset for businesses as they shut down online hackers before they do large amounts of damage.
- Software updates. Today’s average website uses a content management system to host their website. This puts businesses at an increased risk of a security breach because of the third-party plugins and applications that are used. Performing regular updates of plugins can help you avoid potential problems down the road.
The most successful web development companies implement all of these security strategies to make sure their clients get the ultimate website security for their business. While it may cost you money to perform these security measures, it can help you avoid the effects of cybercriminals which can be extremely costly to your business.
Negative Impacts of Cyber Attacks
Website security protects your website from the following potentially damaging effects of a cyber attack. These effects include:
- Malware- Malware is short for malicious software. This is one of the most common threats facing websites today. Malware can spam your website, give cybercriminals access to your website, and steal your customer’s sensitive data.
- DDoS attacks- Distributed denial-of-service attacks are the result of multiple compromised systems. When these systems flood the targeted system with traffic, DDoS attacks occur. DDoS attacks disrupt normal traffic to your website. They can slow your site, make it inaccessible to visitors, or cause your site to crash completely.
- Blacklisting- If your website does become compromised or it becomes inundated with malware, you run the risk of becoming blacklisted. Blacklisting can be extremely damaging to businesses and takes a lot of time and money to reverse. When your website is blacklisted, it is removed from the search engine results. Even if you have repeat customers coming to your website, it can affect your business. That’s because once your business is blacklisted, visitors are flagged with a warning that usually turns them away.
- Defacement- When a cybercriminal has malicious intent, they may choose to go the route of defacement. Defacement replaces your website’s content with whatever the cybercriminal chooses to put up on your website. Your viewers will not only be seeing irrelevant content; you will lose all your website’s content completely. So, if you haven’t properly backed up your site, all your information will be lost.
Web Security Check List for 2019
Now that you understand the importance of online security and the negative effect of not protecting yourself, let’s take a closer look at how to secure a website. This ultimate web security checklist will help you put your best foot forward in 2019 and protect your website from unnecessary security issues.
1. Improve the Strength of Your Logins
One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to get into your website is through weak logins. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to enhance the strength of your logins. Try these helpful tips to improve the security of your access information:
- Avoid using admin as the username to login to the backend of your website. This is the most common username for WordPress logins and easily gives cybercriminals the first half of your credentials.
- Create stronger passwords. You can use a password generator to create a long, unique password for your account. Be sure to create a password that uses a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols to increase strength.
- Start implementing 2-factor authentication. Most apps off the option today.
- Customize your login page. When admins or users want to login to their portal, make sure their login URL is customized. This makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to know where to go to get into the backend of your website.
2. Implement Secure Payment Methods
When it comes to your customers, the most important data they want you to protect is their payment information. You need to be able to offer choices if you want to give customers the ultimate user experience, but you should never sacrifice security. Third-party payment options like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Apple Pay are a great option. They keep your customers’ information protected on their own, so it’s just an added security measure for your business. If you are accepting credit cards, be sure your website has an SSL certificate that encrypts your customers’ information. You can also use programs like Visa Secure to provide extra protection.
3. Monitor Your Plugins
Third-party plugins and applications can be a big factor in security breaches. Make sure you continually monitor your plugins and applications. Provide regular updates to avoid vulnerabilities. Delete any unused plugins or themes on your website. Stay away from premium plugins that are offered free of charge. Remember, nothing is ever truly free.
4. Implement Security Plugins
With the increased need for security, software applications have been developed to further protect your website from security threats. From login protection to cyber attacks, security plugins cover just about everything. While most businesses are looking for the best price on internet security, talk to your web developer about some of the premium security plugins. They might cost you a little more at the outset, but they will save you a lot of money in the long run if your website is breached.
5. Secure All External Databases
When it comes to business, many companies create databases outside of their internal server to store their information. Make sure you take extra steps to secure these databases as well. You should increase security on Cloud databases and external storage drives, and encrypt your information as well.
The need for website security is more important than ever as more and more companies rely on the internet to do business. Security breaches and cyber attacks can be damaging to your business, costing you a lot of money in the long run. By following the best practices for online security, and implementing better security measures, you can avoid security issues. When you improve logins, monitor plugins, and implement methods to secure external databases and customer and business information, your business will benefit long-term. The better your security measures in 2019, the better your business will be in future years.