Did you know that the use of malware rose by 358% in 2020, and ransomware usage rose by 435%?
I’m not telling this to frighten you, but that’s the harsh truth of the world we live in.
As a website owner, is there anything scarier than the mere thought of seeing all your data being altered or entirely wiped out by a treacherous hacker?
We often hear news about data breaches and hacks all over the world. You might assume that hackers would go for larger companies with more money and data to steal. But truth be told, hackers don't see how big or small a business is. The reality is that small businesses make up 43% of data breaches, so all business owners need to prioritize cybersecurity and protection.
Perhaps, sometimes the best ways to tackle any problem are the simplest ones. You already know that you have to protect your website from the bad guys; however, once you dig deeper into website vulnerabilities, you might get overwhelmed with complex concepts and convoluted solutions.
Nevertheless, there are a few basic practices that you can follow to improve your website's security. Let's have a look at seven essential things that you can do to ensure the safety of your website.
7 Ways to protect Website Data
The data that is available through your website is vital to your brand or business. All your personal data, and that of those who visit your site, could be at risk if you're the victim of a data breach.
On top of that, cyber crime can result in loss of traffic and have substantial financial and legal implications. There is nothing scarier than losing everything you've worked for on account of a cyber attack, so you need to take every step to ensure you're protected.
With constant innovation in software and technology, businesses are moving many applications to the cloud, as there are more vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit. Moreover, there are various cybersecurity tools that you can use to ensure that your site is secured from vulnerable attacks. That said, there are also more ways that you can protect your website's data.
Let's get started..
Optimize cloud security architecture
What is cloud security architecture? Cloud security architecture is the responsibility of both the cloud provider and the consumer, aka you! By reading through your provider's service level agreement, you will understand the responsibilities that fall onto both parties to enforce security measures.
Using the cloud is essential in modern-day business, allowing you to scale up and grow much quicker by shifting infrastructure to the cloud.
Optimizing security architecture means that your business can continue to become more efficient without compromising your data or applications.
As part of the cloud security architecture, ensure that you incorporate data loss prevention tools, use virtual firewalls, anti-virus software, DDoS attack protection, and SIEM.
When you see an HTTPS website in the URL, you know they have an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate lets you know that the website is safe, and you can provide your information without concern. Having the certification means that the transfer of data between the website and server is secure, and many users will not provide their information without it.
It's been essential for all eCommerce websites to have an SSL certificate since they are collecting credit card details, contact information, and other personal data. Now, it's becoming essential for all businesses. Google Chrome will flag your website to visitors if you don't have it, so they aren't likely to stick around, even if you aren't asking for their details.
It doesn't cost much to get an SSL certificate, but it's an extra layer of encryption that makes your website and its data more secure. Without this encryption, you become a target for cyber criminals, plus you will inhibit your business success.
Create complex passwords
It may seem obvious, but having complex passwords is one of the best ways to protect your website. While you don't want to forget your passwords, learning one password is easier than losing your entire business.
People know the importance of creating secure passwords, but many still opt for simplicity and think that a cyberattack will never happen to them. It's a big mistake, and you must make sure that everyone who has access to your website uses equally secure passwords.
Passwords should contain a mix of numbers, both uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters. The passwords should have no relation to the user, such as birthdays, mothers' maiden names, etc.
Even one weak password within your team could be the gateway in for a hacker. Set guidelines for your employees to follow when setting up their passwords to ensure you aren't vulnerable.
Note: Aside from complex passwords, you also need a secure connection. Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) tool can deliver encryption for all your data transfers at home, office, or anywhere you use a public Wi-Fi. Among the top VPN providers from reviewers and experts are ExpressVPN, CyberGhost and NordVPN.
Automate your data backups
Irrespective of how many steps you take to mitigate the risks of a data breach, there is still a chance it could happen. The best thing you can do is prepare for the worst by backing up your data consistently.
Having all your website data backed up means that if a hacker wipes your website or uses Ransomware to hold your data hostage, you won't have lost everything. Manually backing up your data takes time, and is subject to human error, aka you can forget. By investing in automatic backups, you'll never have to worry about it, and you'll always be covered.
Avoid accepting uploads via website
Whenever you accept an upload through your website, you risk a cybercriminal uploading a malicious file. The file itself could contain malware, or they could upload a file that is so big it causes your website to crash.
All it takes is for you to click on the file upload, and the hacker has access to your entire website. If you can, try to avoid accepting any uploads through your website at all.
For many businesses, uploading files is an essential part of their operations. If your clients or users need to provide you with documents, you will have to accept file uploads, which puts you at risk. By taking some steps you can create a secured website if file uploads are essential.
Here are a few tips to make accepting uploads more secure:
- Set a maximum file size
- Whitelist allowed file types
- Rename files automatically as soon as they are uploaded
- Scan for malware
- Use file type verification
Update you CMS
Regardless of which CMS you use to host your website, you must keep it continuously updated. By using a CMS, you can build a website, featuring tons of extensions and plugins to benefit your business. With that comes added risk, since those extensions and plugins are often vulnerable due.
Since many extensions are open-source programs, it's easy to access their coding. Hackers can then exploit those vulnerabilities to gain access to your entire website.
The best way to protect yourself from these types of breaches is to update your CMS and any apps, extensions, or plugins that you have installed. Update them as soon as there is a new patch, as waiting even one day could expose you to a cyber attack.
Use webforms wisely
If you have any fillable web forms on your site, make sure that you set strict parameters for what data users can enter. SQL injection attacks are becoming increasingly common as hackers use webforms to enter pieces of code, which grants them access to your data.
Many businesses store all their client data in the web database, and if a hacker gets in, all that data is at risk. By setting parameterized queries, you can set parameters specific enough that hackers are unable to tamper with them.
Protecting your website's sensitive data is essential to your business success. Not only can a cyberattack wipe all your hard work completely, but it can also put your personal and client data in the hands of someone with malicious intent.
Speaking to cyber security professionals is always the best way to ensure your website security is optimized and that you aren't missing any vulnerabilities within your applications or software. There are many exciting and helpful innovations in technology and software which can help you to enhance your processes.
It's vital for the growth of your business that you utilize these innovations but do so safely. By implementing the tips in this article, you can ensure that your create professional website as secure as possible.