- Preparing For 2020: Is Your Web Security Ready?
The internet has increasingly become insecure. A study at the University of Maryland states that a hacking incident takes place every 39 seconds. The extent of cybercrime is too high and can be estimated from the fact that the security breach at sales intelligence company Apollo in 2018 led to over 9 billion data of individuals and organisations were released.
Among the most common security threats are spam emails leading to phishing attacks. Equally common are viruses and malware. The situation is far grimmer with small businesses as 43% of all cyberattacks target them. Still, most websites and networks are found wanting when it comes to cybersecurity.
Data breaches lead to severe repercussions, including loss of trust, punitive fines from authorities, lawsuits, etc. So, can you prevent your website and networks from getting hacked? You need to beef up your security. We will discuss some of the steps in this article.
Update all software
One of the major causes of a data breach is backdated software. Hackers are quick to spot vulnerabilities in software and pounce on them. It is the reason why we must install updates of our CMS, plug-ins, themes, etc. If we are using WordPress, we must download the updates whenever they are available.
These software always come up big fixes along with improvements in security levels. Most cyberattacks are carried by scanning websites which are vulnerable. It is easier for you to keep track of updates if you turn on the auto-update feature.
Managing your password is essential for the security of your website. While selecting the password for the website access, you must always consider the password creation best practices. While creating the user credentials, the site must also inform the user about the strength of the password.
The username must not be your official email ID. Instead, you must utilise a name that you can easily remember. If you have to remember too many passwords, you must use a password manager. It will help you in creating passwords and also be the storehouse of the passwords.
Use an SSL certificate
Web browsers have been quite stringent against HTTP websites and have been marking them as “Not secure”. It makes your website untrustworthy for visitors, and they abandon your site. It is the right time to choose best SSL certificate for your website. For example, if you have multiple subdomains of a main domain then, you must procure a Wildcard SSL certificate if you are still on the HTTP platform.
The communication between the visitor’s browser and the webserver needs to be encrypted to prevent any third-party from gaining access to the information. Being on the HTTPS platform will ensure that the communication is encrypted. E-commerce websites need to adhere to the PCI-DSS guidelines. It requires them to deploy suitable safeguards to prevent any unauthorized access.
Check antecedents of the web host.
While you are taking proper steps to secure your website, you must also check the security levels at the web host. We tend to select the web host based on the price, but it should not be the only criterion. We must always check the levels of security at the web host.
Always request for testimonials from the vendor, and you must always call up the references and talk to them about the security initiatives taken by the vendor. The hosting services provider must undertake periodic audits of their networks through a third-party auditor to ensure foolproof security.
Utilise security plug-ins
If you are using WordPress for your website, you can utilise the various security plug-ins. These plug-ins act as a firewall to the website. It helps to keep away any malware and spam that are used to attack your site. The plug-ins can also help you by undertaking security audits and find out any gaps in your security processes.
Your IT team must take periodic backups of your website. It will help the team to make the site recover quickly in the- unfortunate event of an attack. It will help in the event of any natural calamity too. There should be a formal policy to ensure backups are taken periodically, ideally once every week. The backup files should not be stored on the same server as your website files.It should be stored in a server located in another location. For WordPress sites, there are few backup plug-ins too.
User rights and privileges
There is no need for several of your employees to visit the website, even if it to publish blogs on the website. Most of the cyber-attacks occur due to human mistakes, due to which you must restrict access to the site. If you have external consultants working on the site, you must limit access to them too.
You may also opt for restricted access, i.e. access will be provided for a specific timeframe to complete a task on the website. Refrain from allowing employees to share their user credentials. You must have an audit log of all changes that have been done on the site.
Restrict uploading of files
Allowing anyone to upload files to the website is risky. Hackers can utilise a significant gap in security to publish malicious to your site. However, there may be occasions that require upload of files to your website—for example, uploading photos for blogs on the site. However, any file upload could be a potential threat to the site. You must devise processes that require someone to approve an instance of uploading files into the website. All file uploads must be logged to allow for later audits.
Web security is an essential topic of discussion in modern times. As the instances of data breaches rise, it will be discussed more and more. The cybersecurity market was valued at US$ 161.07 bn in 2019 and is expected to rise to US$ 363.05 bn in 2025. We have discussed various other steps you may take to secure your site. You must ringfence your website and in-house networks to prevent any cyberattack before it is too late!