Every website needs security. Even if you think your lowly blog or online store couldn’t possibly be a target for hackers, there’s some unscrupulous bad actor out there who would love to get access to your data and/or take down your site. If you think you might be vulnerable to cyber-attack, here are five things you can do to improve security on your website.
1. Get an SSL Certificate
In the past, SSL certificates, which encrypt the data that users enter into your website to allow it to remain secure as it travels from their browser to your server, were really only necessary for sites that collected personal information or credit card details. But Google has indicated that it wants to move toward a web where every site uses SSL. On their Chrome browser, any site without an SSL certificate will be flagged as “Not Secure,” scaring users off. And Google has also altered their algorithm to boost sites that use SSL above those that don’t. Contact your web hosting provider about adding an SSL certificate as soon as possible.
2. Back Up Everything
Any and all data on your site, whether placed there by you or entered by a user, needs to be securely backed up. Your server, as secure as you may think it is, could always fail. Backing up data on an external hard drive, preferably one located in a different geographical area from your server, is a good idea, but many people are now opting to back up data in cloud storage instead. Choose one and start automatically backing up your data.
3. Use Malware Detection Software Daily
Malicious software can be introduced to your website through any of several avenues, often completely without your knowledge. This software can be used to spy on your users and administrators, steal data, and even provide a “back door” for a hacker to use to take total control of your site. Scanning your entire site daily with malware detection software (ConfigServer eXploit Scanner – cxs, Imunify, and Linux Malware Detect all offer affordable solutions) can give you peace of mind and head off malware before it has a chance to cause real damage.
4. Avoid Unnecessary Applications and Plugins
The more “features” you add to your site, the more vulnerable it becomes to hackers. That means that extraneous applications and plugins are a big risk since the code they use could have already been cracked by hackers who can then gain entry to the rest of your site. Make sure any unnecessary apps and plugins are completely wiped from your site.
Cyber criminals go after all sites, great and small. Investing in security means you won’t have to worry about your website being crippled by an attack or your customers’ data being stolen. That’s worth the expense.