Website security has become increasingly important over the last few years as more and more malware, phishing, and spyware have led to identity theft and loss of personal information for internet users. According to a recent study, over 143 million Americans were targeted through online hacking and scams last year alone. This means online users are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of submitting information through unsecured sites and forms.
The integrity of your site’s security features is of utmost importance to us at Mainspring Technology. In this article we are going to look at five steps to strengthen your website’s security and promote a safe environment for your online visitors.
1. Stay on top of website security updates
A vast majority of websites these days are created using Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Squarespace, Magento, etc. Developers periodically release updates to the platforms and various plugins in order to fix bugs and troubleshoot loopholes that hackers use to access your site. By updating to the newest versions, you’re helping your site stay ahead of hackers.
Check and see what type of security features or plugins are available for your platform and start protecting your site from malware, spyware, viruses and other attacks. Even if you have never had this kind of problem with your site before, the proper precautions will help ensure that you never will.
2. Backup your website
Frequent website backups are essential to any online business. If something goes wrong with your site, such as a failed plugin update or accidental deletion of a file or page element, the site backup ensures you have a stable version to revert to quickly. This minimizes your site’s downtime while you work to correct the issues on the backend.
Many CMS platforms have features or plugins that allow automatic backups of your site files and databases. Some hosting providers also provide automatic backups to ensure easy recovery of your site if something happens. If your hosting provider doesn’t supply this feature, check to see if any plugins are available for your CMS. Otherwise you can also manually download your site’s files from the server using a free ftp client like FileZilla. Also, be sure to back up your databases periodically.
3. Install a security certificate
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates are essential to any online business. They create a secure connection between your website visitor’s web browser and the server on which your website’s files are stored. If a visitor submits information, such as a credit card payment or email message, over an unsecured connection, that information can be viewed by a third party. This can mean identity theft, misuse of your customer’s credit card information, etc. An SSL certificate actually encrypts the connection so that information submitted is secure and not accessible to a third party.
SSL certificates create the https connection with the green bar that shows up in a web browser. Most customers will not purchase anything from a website that does not have this protection. The green padlock lets someone know their information is secure and won’t be accessed by someone who shouldn’t have it. These certificates not only protect your site, they also assure customers that your company has been verified and that they are safe to go ahead and make a purchase, leading to more customer conversions.
4. Utilize 2-factor authentication
Hackers use a variety of ways to try and figure out your password and access your online accounts. The 2-facto authentication (2FA) method was developed as an additional layer of protection against fraudulent logins and account access. Even if a hacker has your username and password, with the 2FA feature, they must also have either your phone or email access in order to verify that they are you.
If you have ever visited a website that did not recognize the device you were trying to login with, you’ve probably experienced the 2FA feature. It will ask whether you would like an access code sent to your phone or email address. Once you’ve verified through your phone or email, along with inputting your password, you are finally granted access to the account. This ensures that even though a hacker has your password, they will not be able to login without access to your phone or email.
5. Rename your admin login page
Some CMS platforms are fairly predictable for hackers. For example, WordPress automatically places your admin login page at example.com/wp-login. Hackers will automatically try to access this URL for your site. To make it difficult for them to find access, use a plugin or other setting to move your admin page to another location. Instead of the predictable default, create a hard-to-guess URL, like example.com/Hard-to-Guess-name. Like a strong password, well-hidden forms and folders make it harder for someone to hack your site.
Every part of your website’s security is important, and failing in one area puts the whole site at risk, and potentially your database full of customer information. Take every precaution to prevent break-ins by keeping your site up-to-date, protected with SSL, backed up, and difficult for anyone else to access. The integrity of your site is essential to online business.
We hope that the information above will help provide some more tools you can use to keep your website safe and secure. Of course, Mainspring Technology can provide these services for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Contact us today to find out more!