Every business needs a website – it is the ideal way to gain more customers and show them exactly what you do and who you are. However, having a website comes with its own set of potential problems, not least of which is the fact that you need to ensure you are keeping it as secure as you can all of the time. There are many hackers who would want to obtain the information that you might be storing including customer details and financial records. Even if you think there is nothing of interest within your files that a hacker would want, you still need to keep your site secure; someone might want to get inside and take a look anyway. After all, they don’t know what’s there.
Here are some useful tips to ensure that your website is safe and secure, and that your customers can browse through it, enjoying your informative blog posts and purchasing your products without having to concern themselves with any kind of cyber attack that might threaten them.
Make Sure Your Software Is Up To Date
If you can ensure that all of the software you are using is completely up to date, you will have more chance of keeping your website safe and secure. As software becomes older, updates are created by the program designer for you to use – you may have noticed on your smartphone, for example, the need to update your apps every now and then. The same process applies to any kind of software you are using on your website, or connected to your website such as a forum or CMS.
The updates that you download will have details in them that make it harder for a hacker to get through. Without being up to date, holes will essentially appear in the programming, and this is where a hacker can slip through and obtain all the information they want – possibly without you even knowing until it is too late. If they don’t have information to take, they may simply destroy the website, taking the company down with it, just as a common thief would be in a home.
Keep a look out for updates as they come, and apply them where necessary. Be careful though; sometimes hackers will use fake updates as a way in, so always research as much as possible before downloading or installing anything. If you’re unsure, use a hosting service to do this work for you, and you won’t have to worry about it anymore.
SSL stands for secure socket layer, and it is a useful piece of technology that you can install on your website to make it more secure. If you take a look at the websites you are using, you will see that some of them have ‘http’ at the start of their URLs, and some have ‘https.’ Those with https are utilizing an SSL certificate, and therefore are more secure (in other words, these are the safest ones to use if you are inputting financial data and buying products).
These benefits of SSL will help to give your customers a better experience – they will be more inclined to buy from you even if they have never used you before if they see that you are using extra security and taking the safety of the details that they give you more seriously.
Don’t Give Too Much Away
Having an error message on your website is a good thing (although no one wants to see it too often, and if you have a persistent error you will need to have it looked into as soon as you can). An error message lets the user know that something went wrong, but that you are dealing with it, for example. However, these messages can be exactly what a hacker is looking for – they can contain all kinds of information that can then be used to break into your website, and by extension your company.
Check Your Passwords
Passwords, particularly when you are dealing with other people’s sensitive information, need to be impossible to crack. This means they should be complex and strong, especially when it comes to the admin area of your website, and of course your server. However, although we do all know that this needs to be the case, it is not always what happens – sometimes, to make it easier for us to remember those passwords, we pick ones that are more simple than they should be, or we choose something that is already in use elsewhere, perhaps in multiple places. These are big mistakes that can lead to a website being more easily accessible by hackers.
It can be tempting to just use the same password for everything; after all, it means there is only one to remember, and that makes sense. However, if a hacker cracks that password, they then have access to absolutely everything in your business, and your personal details too. You could lose everything at once, bringing your business down and causing you huge financial difficulties.
It’s not just your passwords for the admin side of the website that you need to check up on; your users need to use strong passwords too if they choose to sign up for an account, for example, and need to log in in order to use it. As much as it might slightly annoy your users when they sign up, you need to insist that they use a strong password that contains upper case letters, symbols, numbers, and letters. They should be at least eight characters in length too.
Don’t Allow Uploads
In most cases this won’t be a problem – users won’t be uploading any files to your website, instead they will be clicking through the pages and ultimately buying from you in the best cases.
If you are thinking of allowing people to create accounts and upload an image for their avatar, for example, then you might want to reconsider the idea. It could seem fun and something different for your users to do (maybe even something they will remember you for over your competition), but the risk is high – anyone could upload any kind of virus to your site using channels that you have open on purpose. It’s far better to allocate random avatars or not worry about them at all if you want to ensure your website is safe.
Republished by Imagincreation