The challenge of making a website is not simply about making it beautiful. It is vital to know how it works with all the services you offer. Taking care of website security is extremely important too. You can put your whole company at risk if your website is hacked and your customer data is stolen as a result of it. Here are eight ways to improve website security.
Working with cloud services, online marketing and web design, we come across a lot of poorly designed websites. And most people that own a website are not experts on designing or developing them.
But maybe the strangest discovery is that very few website owners are aware of how they can protect their website from security breaches, and in many cases don’t understand the importance of website security.
Passwords are first step to improve website security
The easiest way to be hacked is to use a weak username and password for your admin account. Refrain from using “admin” as username or password! All in all, you should avoid common usernames and make sure you have a strong password that is changed on a regular basis.
To build a really strong password, you would need to make it more Complex, Long & Unique (CLU). Make it Complex in a way that your password does not resemble anything that could relate to you or traced to your company.
The longer the password the better, at least 8-10 characters is recommended. And make them Unique, don’t reuse passwords and don’t use the same password on more than one account.
So how can you remember 20 different passwords that are CLU? You can’t, but the good news is that there are great passwords managers available. And they can also make random passwords for you. Highly recommended!
Keep software updated to increase website security
If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, with themes and plugins to run your website, we just can’t stress this enough: You need to keep your software updated. If you are serious about improving website security, you need to check for security updates on a regular basis.
Your website may be based on anything between 10 – 100 different software components, and if your software are outdated there are serious risks of your site going down, beeing hacked, loss of data or spam – and you don’t want that to happen.
Remember this: Hacking today is mostly carried out by bots (crawling software robots) that are constantly scanning for opportunities and vulnerabilities that it can expose.
You could also install a website firewall that improve website security, and if you are running WordPress there are plugins available that will notify you if there are updates available.
If you have more than one user that has access to your login panel, they will require permission to gain full access. You can grant temporary rights and revoke them as soon as the job is done. By all means don’t have all users access the admin account with one username and password!
A typical scenario is that you have someone that is posting blog updates and maintaining your product information, for example. In this case there is no need for them to have access to full admin privileges. Access to creating and editing posts is appropriate.
To have a precise definition on user access levels will increase security on many different levels. In addition to introducing accountability so that you know who did which posts and changes, you limit the risk of someone unwillingly changing configurations that can take your site down or put it at risk.
Change the default settings
To make it harder for the bots to hack your site you should change the default settings of your CMS. Bots attacks are exploiting known security issues with templates and plugins and often these attacks are based on default settings being used. Changing the default settings will in many cases be enough to avoid an attack.
You can change default settings of plugins, users, comments and many more when you install your CMS, which is recommended, or at any time later. If you have default setting set up currently, this is something you can quickly correct today.
Only use “active” templates and plugins
The vast amount of themes and plugins that are available today is great because you can find almost any functionality you need for your website without having to code it yourself. The risk however is big if you use a theme or plugin that is not maintained properly by the author.
That’s also why we encourage caution when you choose your themes and plugins. If there have been no new releases in a while or if the author is not responding to your support questions they may have stopped maintaining their code. That of course is a good reason to look for alternatives.
We would also check the number of downloads of a theme or plugin. In general we prefer to work with software that are developed by experienced developers and have a regular update cycle, in addition to having a support option. Using themes or plugins that doesn’t meet these criteria will not improve website security.
Never put many sites on one server
It may be tempting to put one or more site on the same (virtual) server. It can save you a few bucks, but it can also take down all your sites all at the same time. In reality it may cost you more than a few bucks to tidy up five sites because one was breached.
The problem is that the more sites you host on one single domain, the bigger and broader your attack surface becomes. With five sites you may have more than a hundred live plugins, which all can be hacked and represent a danger for all websites as the infection easily spreads.
SSL is an encryption solution that protects data from being intercepted. With SSL installed your communication between the browser that accesses your site and the server that runs your site will be encrypted. So anyone that manages to intercept any data package will not be able to read it.
SSL encryption is very important when sensitive data is transferred, like for instance payment information. You do not want sensitive customer data to be lost to hackers. That would potentially be extremely untrustworthy and you may risk losing a lot of your online business, if not all.
If your security is somehow breached you may be very pleased if you have an updated backup of your website that can be rolled back quickly. It is really essential not only to take a backup of all your content, so you need a website backup solution. The reason is that with regular server backup you will save all your content, but not the complicated setup.
With a proper website backup solution and a remote backup location you are much better prepared if your site should be compromised at some time. If you follow our path to keep your website safe, the risk of an successful attack will be minimal, but should it ever happen you would be thanking yourself for installing that backup solution.
Cloudnames can help
Cloudnames can help you with everything you need for your online marketing. We can manage your complete online presence, your website, online marketing and all the complicated technical details to effectively grow your revenue online.
We offer a managed web design service where we not only design a website with modern mobile friendly responsive design, including the services your customers demand. We also manage your website and keep it updated and secure on a regular basis.
We can also take care of your Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing and all other online marketing campaigns, including email and banner ads. We also deliver all your graphic design, photo, video or any other service you will need to maximise your online revenue generation.
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At Cloudnames our motto is “sharing is caring,” so we have made a guide on everything you need to know to be successful with Social Media Marketing. You can download your free copy today
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