If you are a business owner who uses a digital storefront, you need to be hyper aware of how secure your business and business website are perceived to be. Clicks to purchase are a critical component of your business growth, and the security of your site could be the deciding factor for potential customers. How can you ensure you are protecting those customers as they click to buy? We have a few recommendations.
Use strong passwords
This is the first security measure you can take to help protect your website. Never ever, ever use default usernames and passwords. Hackers target popular and commonly used website tools, interfaces and applications and try to access your site as the default administrator. Instead of using something like “admin,” create custom login names, and never use simple passwords like “football,” “password” or any other dictionary word. To create a strong password that is still easy to remember, try taking a phrase like “the sad dog” and start replacing characters, ie: “+h3_5@d_D0g.”
Show online activity
An inactive site is like leaving all of the lights off in your house when you go on vacation. Click To Tweet — it signals no one is home or paying attention. A “dead” site can be a very inviting target for hackers. Also, the less often you make modifications to your site and its content, the more likely you are to miss any potential issues. Your site could be compromised for weeks without you knowing. You may also wish to “recruit” help from your community, so…
Make it easy to contact you
Make sure there are multiple ways to contact you and that all of your contact info and links to your social media accounts are up-to-date. This way you can “crowdsource” information from your customers. Many of your customers will inform you if your site is broken, has been hacked or just doesn’t seem to be operating correctly, as long as they can contact you easily. This user feedback is free and usually very prompt. As an additional note, always add CAPTCHAs to user request, comment and input areas. Customer feedback and information is very important, but make sure it’s a real person and not a computer spamming your site.
Use a secure host
Unless you host your own website, there are many core security features that you won’t be able to control, including the security of your hosting provider. Even if your site is built securely, it could still be at risk if your provider is running your site on vulnerable systems. Verify your hosting provider has security measures in place to protect their systems and your site. Regular system updates and backup policies as well as routine security, availability and performance monitoring are good indicators your provider is security conscious.
Keep software and plugins up to date
As the website owner/designer/maintainer, you’ll have more control over these security elements. Keep your software versions, content management systems, plug-ins and other features current. Updates often include security patches along with bug fixes and other enhancements. Out-of-date software can create vulnerabilities by providing an avenue for hackers. However, it’s important to to check your website after you install and execute updates because they could cause other errors in functionality. This is why it’s so important to…
Backup your data
Backing up data is a good practice because it can not only help mitigate those “whoops” moments, like a bad software updates, but it also serves as an important piece of your site’s security. Backups let you restore to a known point, so whether you accidentally broke something or an attacker hacks your site, you can quickly get it back to a working state. If you have to restore your website because it was hacked, you should investigate how the hack happened and determine how to prevent it from happening again.
Implement strong design
Strong design incorporates the inner workings of your website; a good designer will ensure strong security measures are in place. This is incredibly important if your site does any kind of e-commerce. Many companies often use their websites and hosting services for additional digital business aspects like email, client management and business databases. This is information and services are not intended for anyone but you, but weak design may allow hackers, or even regular customers, access to this information.
Hire a security expert
Overall, the best way to protect your website is to develop a relationship with a firm that can provide security services, maintenance and regular updates all in one. There are many steps you can take, but most security measures should be handled by an expert. These experts have years of training and constantly keep up with information on the latest hacks, attacks and vulnerabilities. They can provide full audits of your website and monitor your site for suspicious activities. One of the best features of hiring a security expert is that if something does happen to your website, they are immediately on hand to repair, enact countermeasures or mitigations and can get your website back up and running quickly, sometimes before your customers even know that something was wrong.
It’s a wild world out there in cyberspace, but the aJuxt team has your back. Talk to us today about setting up a site audit with our Site Security Specialist and how to improve the security of your website. We’re here to help!
Seth Hellbusch is the aJuxt Site Security Specialist (S3). He’s a coding king, a computer fixer and an apprentice carpenter. Seth works in the defense industry as an engineer and specializes in IT and security. He even has a security patent for a specific method and apparatus for cyber security.