Whether you’ve had your website for years, or just getting started, making sure your website is safe from hackers and other cyber-attacks should be a top priority.
Even if you think your website isn’t a target, you can never be too careful, especially if you have sensitive data.
Why Protect Your Website?
Hackers and viruses can damage your business reputation by infecting your site with ransomware, redirecting customers to a different site or even taking your site down completely.
Preventing loss of sensitive data including patents or customer data should be a top priority when maintaining your site. The trust a customer builds with your brand will easily be broken if hackers manage to steal their data. Users want to know that any data they input into your site is protected.
Implementing security protocols for your website also helps improve and maintain your SEO rating, ensuring that search engines value your business and therefore, improve your standing in search results.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your website safe:
Keep On Top of Core Updates
Let’s start with the more obvious – keep your website updated! Core updates generally include security updates and patches as flaws are discovered, so keeping them up to date is important.
Note: by updating the core system the user should be aware of what is being updated and whether that will cause incompatibilities or issues with the site as different plugins, etc. are updated.
Psst… if you find it confusing or time-consuming to keep on top of your updates, Arkay Digital can provide ongoing support or maintenance for you. Get in touch!
Make Sure Your Website Has a Valid SSL Certificate
An SSL, or Security Socket Layer, allows your website to transmit personal data safely without worrying about hackers or data breaches. They guard your website against intruders so that any information you, or customers, enter on your site will be protected.
An easy way to discern if your website has one is the URL. A standard website address begins with HTTP. However, a website with an active SSL Certificate will begin as HTTPS.
Limit File Uploading to Your Site
If your website allows members or others to upload files, implementing procedures for upload will help protect your site.
Creating a process in which files are scanned and monitored for viruses or other malicious code is vital. This may include you performing an anti-virus scan on the documents before uploading or finding a plugin that does that for you.
Activate Your Firewall
It’s a simple step but ensuring your firewall is activated can help prevent any viruses from infecting your website through your computer. Most PCs will have a built-in firewall, but if yours doesn’t, it’s important you install one. A few examples of where to include a firewall are with FTP access and database access, although this is likely to be taken at a hosting level.
Check Your Server
Making sure your server is safe can help protect your website from any online threats. For example, ensuring there are no vulnerabilities in the SHH (Secure Shell protocol). The SHH protocol allows network services to run safely over unsecured networks. Any vulnerabilities in this area may allow threats in.
Make sure to check your DNS, your CMS and that your server is updated and not running any outdated software.
Check Your Network
If the server you use is safe and secure, other domains on that server may pose a security threat as you share the same domain network.
Hackers can use unprotected devices connected to your network to infect your system or gain access to your website, so ensure that you have processes in place to keep an eye on any potential threats.
Update Your Plugins
Checking that your plugins or other web applications are updated can help prevent any vulnerabilities in your website.
If there are any vulnerabilities found in the coding on your CMS from outdated add-ons, this will allow hackers to access your site. Keeping them updated or removing them completely can protect your site.
Choosing well-supported plugins, that are trusted and regularly updated is a must-do for protecting your website from the start. Old, or no longer updated plugins, could have more security flaws as they are constantly being discovered.
Choose Your Plugins Wisely
As well as making sure your plugins are updated consistently, you can also find plugins that are used specifically for security purposes. For example, a popular plugin on WordPress is WordFence.
These specific security plugins can help by adding things like 2-factor authentication, scans for core file changes in case of being hacked and providing reports on increased attacks to the site so that you can take appropriate action.
What is 2-factor authentication?
2-Factor Authentication works by including a second layer of security. This includes a site using more credentials aside from the usual user and password. This could be a separate password or code on top of your normal login details.
Another simple but necessary tip is to enforce a strong password policy. Banning the use of simple/easy usernames, such as ‘admin’, will go a long way in helping protect your site. Remember, you want to make it as hard as possible for a hacker to guess the details.
There are a few more unrelated, but relevant, ways you can protect your site. For example, having backups of the site. If something does go wrong and you get hacked, you can restore your site to a state before the issue occurred using said backup. Backing up can be done through your hosting or by using specific plugins.
Going further, if you are limiting your services to specific countries, you can block the remaining countries that you don’t need to show your services. This is incredibly helpful regarding countries where there are a high number of attacks.
There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to securing your site from cyber-attacks. Fortunately, site security is a key part of web development and you can discuss all your security issues with your hosting provider.
However, if you need help making sense of your site security, Arkay Digital offers support with these issues through our available hosting packages. Feel free to contact us to find out more!