In an ever-changing world, website security can be a challenging (or even confusing) issue. This book is intended to provide website owners with a clear framework for reducing risk and implementing security concepts to their web properties.

Before we get started, it’s essential to keep in mind that security is never a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Instead, we encourage you to think of it as a continuous process that requires constant assessment to reduce the overall risk.

When we use a systematic approach to website security, we can picture it as an onion, with multiple layers of defense coming together to make one piece. We need to handle website security comprehensively and with a defense in depth strategy.

What is Website Security?

In general, web security refers to the prevention methods and protocols that companies implement to protect themselves from cybercriminals and threats that use the online channel. Web security is critical for business continuity and protecting data, users, and enterprises from risk.

Why is Website Security Important?

Nobody wants a hacked website. Having a safe website is just as important for someone’s online presence as using a website host. If a website is hacked and blocked, it might lose up to 98 % of its visitors. Without having a secure website can be as terrible as not having a website at all, if not worse. For instance, a customer data breach may result in lawsuits, huge fines, and a ruined reputation.

How to Improve Your Websites Security

Keep all your software up to date.

The first step is one of the simplest, yet it makes a significant impact. Many software updates are specifically designed to address security vulnerabilities. Software engineers and cyber security experts are always in conflict with hackers, trying to defeat every new effort they develop.

Most of the software updates you have to get regularly are part of that effort. Even though it’s an annoyance, don’t put off finishing those updates. Check for updates to your plug-ins, CMS, eCommerce software, and any other software that affects how your website operates regularly. Taking this easy action will immediately lessen your vulnerability.

Use secure passwords and update frequently.

Make sure your password has a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Also, avoid choosing a password that an individual can guess — your child’s name or year of birth are too simple for anyone to figure out. Be creative, use a different login for your website than you use for your other logins, and make sure everyone else in the business who has access to the website does the same.

Then repeat the process in six months. Set a reminder on your calendar to remind you to update your password regularly.

Backup regularly

When it comes to website security, you should always prepare for the worse. You never want to find yourself in a situation where your website is under attack. However, keeping your material backed up will make your life a lot simpler if something goes wrong.

Set up SSL

Having an SSL certificate is essential if you operate an eCommerce website. Before they provide you with sensitive information, your people should know that your website is secure. You can give customers that security by using an SSL certificate.

An SSL certificate isn’t too expensive, and it assures that your website displays a green HTTPS in the browser bar, which is what users look for to decide whether or not a website can be trusted. It adds an extra layer of security to ensure that the information customers share with you is securely encrypted and cannot be readily accessed by cybercriminals.

Use a DDoS mitigation service.

DDoS assaults occur when a hacker causes many compromised systems to overload the bandwidth of a website all at once. The server becomes overloaded and starts to refuse all visitors.

Having a web hosting provider with defensive measures in place is the first line of defense, but given how common DDoS assaults have become, investing in a DDoS mitigation solution will further reduce your risk.

Hackers are continually working on new ways to exploit these protections. In addition to implementing these ten steps, take some time to read up on emerging security risks and best practices throughout the year.

The stakes are high here; you need your customers to trust you and your website regularly executes its job. Please make sure that website security is given the attention it deserves.

Update your software

You know how often you have to update the software to keep it running smoothly if you own a computer. It might be annoying, but this is necessary. The same goes for your website. Ensure you have the most recent version of WordPress software, plug-ins, CMS, and anything else that needs an update.

In addition to fixing bugs or glitches, software updates typically come with security improvements. No software is perfect. Hackers will always be looking for ways to take advantage of their vulnerabilities.

Lots of cyber attacks are automated. Criminals use bots to scan for vulnerable websites. So, if you’re not staying up to date on the latest software versions, it will be easy for hackers to identify and target your site before you can do anything about it.

Be careful about your permissions.

How many people have access to your website? Even many on the smaller side, most businesses need to provide at least a couple of people with the means to access the website to make changes. Medium-sized and larger businesses will often have far more people accessing the website regularly.

The more people you have in there making changes to the website, the more vulnerabilities you have. Chances are, not every person using your website needs the same level of access. Using your permissions wisely can limit the potential damage a thoughtless or malicious act by one of your employees or contractors can have.

Tighten Network Security

When you think your website is safe, you should check your network security.

Employees who use office computers can inadvertently create an unsafe path to your website.

Try implementing the following at your company to prevent them from getting access to your website’s server:

  • Allow computer logins to expire after a brief period of inactivity.
  • Assure that your system alerts users of password changes every three months.
  • Ensure that all devices connected to the network are scanned for malware every time they are connected.

Use Anti-malware software

Anti-malware software can appear to be a lot of languages, but the good news is that anti-malware software does the hard work for you – so you don’t have to worry about any of the technical stuff.

There are several anti-malware tools available. Some are free, such as Bitdefender Antivirus Free, while others, such as SiteLock, need payment.

SiteLock is used by over 12 million websites and provides several packages with varying degrees of security. It means you can adjust your security to the demands of your site as well as your budget. It offers the following security services:

  • Web scanning
  • Malware detection and removal
  • Web application firewall
  • Vulnerability patching
  • DDoS protection
  • PCI compliance

If you don’t understand what any of this means, that’s OK — that’s why anti-malware software exists!

Final Thoughts

As a business owner and designer, you can’t just build a website and then abandon it. Though it’s now easier than ever to establish a website, the importance of security management cannot be understated.

You should constantly be proactive when it comes to securing your company’s and customers’ data. Whether your website accepts online payments or personal information, the information customers provide should end up in the hands of the right people.