With more than one billion websites on internet today, as the owner of one of those sites, you might think that there's not much chance that a cybercriminal could attack you. However, before we even get to that point, let's step back a bit and consider what your website means to you.
As an individual, you may just own a personal website or even a tiny online business that you consider not worth to protect as you may not collect so much data. There is value in everything, and even a tiny website contains some data. Perhaps the username and password you use for all your online accounts? If you have a small business, your website represents your brand and reputation, along with tons of more valuable information that belongs not only to you, but to your customers.
If you've come across articles from Forbes, The Economist or any number of online security companies, it's very likely that you're familiar with the term "data is the new oil." It has become one of the most valuable assets available online today (and hence we see the growth of VPNs) and just like everything else, it can be stolen and exchanged or traded.
Cybercriminals don't care if your site is tiny, they use tools that test every site they come across for free, just collecting information. If they can't use the information, they can always sell it to someone else.
Since most of us don't physically own or maintain the equipment we place our sites on we will look at the non-physical aspects of site security. This includes two main areas:
1) protecting the site itself.
2) protecting the data your customers give you.
Remember that anyone who visits your site can be considered a customer, not just someone who makes a purchase from you.
Make sure your site platform and any other scripts you use are up to date. Every piece of software known to mankind is released with bugs and possible security loopholes. Even the ones that will be updated will have these loopholes. All it takes is a single vulnerability, and cybercriminals will be able to gain access. By providing regular updates, the opportunities to exploit security loopholes are reduced.
This is especially important for those who use tools for websites that are open source. By their very nature, open source tools leave themselves vulnerable to those looking for exploits. To combat this, there are many tools you can use to help you check.
Scan My Server offers a free security testing service that you can try. Just enter the URL of your site and it will help you identify security vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection and many other vulnerabilities. The first site you review is free, but if you have more than one, there is a small fee.
Another option is Web Inspector, however, it is much more limited. Web Inspector helps you find malicious programs that can infect your code. It is also, unfortunately, limited to scanning one page at a time. The tool is pretty good, though, developed by security company COMODO, which is a specialist in Internet security solutions.
We can't even remember how many times this problem has come up before, but for some reason many users come up with passwords that cybercriminals can even guess if they want to.
Today, such hacking tools are so sophisticated that passwords of the letter digits 6 of the past now seem like a joke. Come up with a password that combines uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters and numbers.
If you ACTUALLY can't remember your passwords, try using a password manager to help you keep track.
Keep in mind that, again, these are apps and as such can also be hacked.
Many people still don't know about HTTP and SSL, but as a website owner, they are important.
For those who run online stores or do any transactions for your customers online, SSL is NOT a must. SSL certificates can be obtained from many sources but your best choice is to get one from a reputable provider such as SSL.com.
In addition, many web hosting providers such as A2Hosting and GreenGeeks also act as a third-party relay and sell them to you.
If you're just starting out, let your web hosting provider know that you intend to start an e-commerce site, and it's likely that they'll have a package deal that includes everything you need. Click here for a full list of potential WHSR websites.
By the way, even if you're not going to run an e-commerce site, web companies today are looking for security, too.
For example, Google now uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, By doing this, they help ensure that people who use their search engine are directed to genuine and secure websites.
SSL.com has been in business for almost 20 years. The company supplies SSL certificates to large organizations such as Cisco and HP.
Also check this list of hosting providers that support free SSL.
No matter how we do it, there's always a chance of Murphy's Law to happen and while it just sucks, it helps to be prepared. Keeping at least two sets of backups is ideal, one on-site and one off-site. It's important to keep a constant of data to ensure business continuity in the event of any attack or even file corruption. Keep in mind that this applies to the information in your database as well, not just your site files.
Again, many web hosts today offer this service. Some do basic backups for free, but if your business reputation depends on your website, it might be a good idea to consider more comprehensive plans.
The digital age is one that includes great advances in technology, but that means that as people digitize, more of their personal information than ever is moving online. As a business, it's your responsibility to help them keep the information they share with you as private and secure as possible. This not only includes payment information such as credit card numbers, but also personal information including names, ID number, etc.
This is what we talked about earlier about SSL, in part. SSL, or Secure Socket Layer Protocol, is what secures information during point to point transmission. Unfortunately, SSL only secures the transmission. You still have to make sure it is secure when it reaches your site!
If at all possible, don't store sensitive data unless you need to.
Since this is virtually impossible to do, this is where encryption comes in. Some platforms, such as WordPress, come with password encryption for user accounts and other pieces of information. This is basic, but not ideal. If you're hosting your own website on your own server, there are several ways to set up encryption yourself. For those who rent space on a hosting server, you will again have to contact your hosting provider.
We provide cybersecurity services to protect your data, contact us on our get a quote page.
While there are many options for encryption or other security features, there is no other option that ensures your data transfer is better than a VPN service (see our VPN Guide for more on this). These great service providers are designed to keep your data transmitted through secure channels and encrypted.
With one subscription to always-on services like NordVPN or RitaVPN you can be sure that any sensitive information you send or receive, such as passwords, business emails, quotes and more, is safe. For website owners who are very mobile-friendly, this is important to do because WiFi connections are notoriously insecure.
Other options for increasing the security of your site
Even the best security plans you lay out can't deter cybercriminals. If the thought of going through all of the above steps to stay secure is starting to give you a headache, don't worry, there are other options.
Today, there are several ways you can get help from the experts on the part of the price it used to pay. Let's take a look at three security companies: Securi, Incapsula and Cloudflare.
Sucuri is a very reputable Internet security provider and offers a range of services for the low price of $US16.99 per month. For a monthly fee, Sucuri offers everything from website security and monitoring to a disaster recovery plan. Total peace of mind all wrapped up in one good, secure package.
Visit online: sucuri.net
Incapsula is similar to Sucuri, and also offers similar solutions to Sucuri and Cloudflare, but its pricing plans seem less structured. There are no direct tiers, and pricing is based on requests for quotes. Each Incapsula product appears to offer separate components, so those hoping for a reasonable all-in-one solution may have to look elsewhere.
Visit online: Incapsula.com
Cloudflare is best known for its reputation as a Content Distribution Network (CDN)This is also primarily due to the creation of a trusted name for protecting customer sites from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Again, as with Incapsula, Cloudflare's pricing tiers are rather unclear.
Visit online: cloudflare.com
These solutions require a bit of a technical touch, let us know if you are going to implement security systems on your applications, we are here to help! Contact us on our get a quote page.
From simple solutions for one's own security being completely tied to dedicated Internet security companies, there are plenty of options today for site owners who, frankly, ignore the problem, it's criminal negligence. The issue of high prices is also a thing of the past, and almost all businesses today should be able to at least build on security solutions.
First of all, start with your web hosting, which is the primary platform for your site in the first place. Make sure you choose a host that can offer you the tools you need, not just target the cheapest option.