Steps to Take to Keep Your Website Safe
If you have a website to promote your business, it’s more important than ever to make sure it’s safe from malicious attacks. Cybersecurity experts say hackers attack through various means about every 39 seconds.
Globally, cybercrime is on the rise. Cybercriminals are also targeting new targets, including entire industries like healthcare, while still employing some of their most well-known techniques, such as phishing and ransomware.
Cybercriminals have momentarily halted several industries in their tracks in the last several years, including healthcare systems, meat processing businesses, and even a United States oil pipeline. A patient died at a Dusseldorf, Germany hospital in 2020 because of a ransomware attack.
Not only is cybercrime dangerous and potentially deadly, but it’s also costly. The cost of cybercrime exceeded $6 trillion in 2021, which tripled from 2015.
Here are several ways you can protect your website from vulnerabilities and keep your information safe.
Keep Your Website Updated
Keeping your website up to date with the latest patches will go a long way toward the security of your site. You won’t have to worry about this as much if you use a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy. Most website builders will take care of security updates and software updates for you.
If you’re using a platform like WordPress, you have to keep up with everything and perform updates as needed. Both your WordPress core software and any installed plugins need to be updated. If you don’t, everything could become out-of-date and subject to errors, defects, and hostile code-wielding hackers.
You can set your WordPress plugins to update automatically, but it doesn’t hurt to regularly check and make sure everything is running smoothly. Before you install a WordPress plugin, read reviews and make sure the design is from a trusted developer so you don’t leave your website vulnerable to attacks through the plugins.
Install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
Another step that might be performed automatically by your website builder is to install a secure sockets layer. The s in https website addresses stands for secure, and the lock emoji next to the web address in your browser means a secure sockets layer is installed on that site.
Information flowing between your website and visitors is encrypted using SSL. In addition to alerting users when they access a site without SSL, Google now “discriminates” against certain websites in its search results.
If you’re receiving money, requesting login information, or exchanging files over your website, SSL security is very crucial. Without it, the data is exposed to hackers and is not safeguarded.
If you’re not using a website builder that provides an SSL automatically, there are a few ways you can go about installing one on your website. You can use a hosting provider, which is a company that offers storage space and connects your website design to the web. They can provide an SSL for your site.
You can install a basic SSL yourself if you feel comfortable doing so. However, you must pay for an advanced SSL certificate if you want a significantly better level of security. These can be purchased at a range of prices from hosting companies or domain registrars. The free version of SSL should be adequate unless you operate a sizable online business or deal with a lot of sensitive data.
Use Anti-Malware Software
Your computer probably came with anti-virus software, which protects your computer from most malicious attacks. Anti-malware software is a similar program, and installing such a program on your computer or phone can help protect you against processes that are harmful or criminal in nature.
Check with your website builder or hosting provider, because some of those businesses do include anti-malware programs to scan your website for issues for free or at a small charge.
You have many options when it comes to anti-virus and/or anti-malware software. Many of these programs offer free versions if you do not want them or are not able to pay. For higher levels of security, you may want to consider upgrading to a premium version of your anti-malware software to best protect your customers and your business.
Run Regular Backups
While you can do all of the above things to help protect your website from malicious attacks, you can also save a backup copy of your website regularly just in case. A backup includes your files, databases, media, and the contents of your site. You can use a backup service to do this for you for a fee. You could use a web host that includes backup services as a part of its plans. Or, if you are building your website on WordPress, you can use a variety of plugins to manage backups.
Typically, using a backup service is the safest and most dependable course of action. Nevertheless, there are a few crucial factors you should constantly keep an eye out for, regardless of the backup strategy you choose:
● Off-site backups: By storing your data elsewhere than on a typical server, you can keep it safe from hackers. This shields your backups from hardware malfunction as well.
● Backups that are automatically created—remember when we said that 95% of security breaches are caused by human error? Don’t forget to pay the money and create backups; by automating this process, you can just sit back and unwind.
● Redundant backups mean that the information on your website is kept on many servers, rather than just one. Consider it similar to having backups of your data.
● Regular backups are important because it’s useless to simply run backups once a year. You’ll have an old version of your site if a hack attack occurs. At the absolute least, you should aim for weekly backups.
Use Complex Passwords
The days of being able to use “Password1234” for anything are long gone. According to a 2018 report by the Ponemon Institute, 40 per cent of small businesses surveyed said hackers attacked them because of a weak password, and the cost of those attacks averaged over £250k
Luckily, there are quick and easy ways to generate unhackable passwords for every login. There are several websites where you can click to generate a highly secure password. Experts suggest you record those passwords with someone else, whether it’s in an offline file, on paper, or on a mobile phone that doesn’t use those passwords. Google even offers to generate passwords for you when you are creating new accounts. While it’s true they can be hard to remember, your web browser can safely store them for you.
Security experts suggest you should change your passwords every three months or 90 days. You can set up reminders for yourself and your employees to change their passwords, which will help them to keep their computers more secure.
With these tips, you’ll be more capable of protecting your business and your customers from any cyberattacks that come your way.
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