Why do you need security for your website?
You have successfully built a beautiful and functioning website that finally puts your business on the map, bringing with it a great sense of empowerment. But have you stopped to think about the security of your site? The answer is most likely not.
The thing is, website security is critical to both the performance of your website and the safety of your customer data. Potential clients need to feel that they can trust your business. Offering a secure website is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to accelerate this relationship. Knowing that your website security is taken care of can alleviate your worries and let you focus on running a successful business.
Security for your clients and your business
It is critical you first understand the core purpose of your website. In essence, it is a sales and lead generation platform that represents you and your business. For many potential clients, this will be their first experience of your services. You want to guarantee it is a good one.
In the past, you have likely tried visiting a site where a warning flashed up in the browser telling you that the page is not secure and your data could be at risk if you proceed. Imagine that was your website! Is this the first experience you want a potential client to have? You want to instill confidence in clients from the second they load your site that they have made the right choice in finding you. These are the customers that will keep coming back.
Five key features of website security
Website security is complex and multi-faceted, but it does not need to be as daunting as you might think. These five features will help build a strong defense against potential online attacks on your business. Unfortunately, there is no full-proof method of making your website impervious to attack, but these steps will add huge road-blocks, slow down and hopefully scare off any would-be hackers.
Website backups are essential to keep your website files safe. By storing a duplicate copy of your website away from the host server, your content will be safe in the event of an issue with your server host or a total website crash.
It is recommended you make backups of your website at least once a week, but this will depend on how much content you post. For example, if you publish daily blog posts, you should make updates more frequently to avoid losing valuable content. You should be testing the backups once a month to ensure the restoration process is functioning correctly.
An SSL certificate is, in essence, what elevates your site from being an HTTP to a secure HTTPS website. You may recognize it better by a padlock symbol that appears in the address bar. It functions as an ID card (or badge) that can prove a website visitor is who they say they are, much like a driving license and vehicle registration document.
So, why do you need an SSL certificate? They keep your user data secure by verifying ownership of the website and preventing hackers from making a fake version of your website. It is also critical in gaining user trust. Many browsers will now tag and warn users that a website is not secure if it is still HTTP.
You should obtain an SSL Certificate from a trusted Certificate Authority (CA) to digitally sign the certificate with their private key. Your web host provider will usually install and activate this certificate on your behalf at no additional cost.
Passwords are your first defense against unauthorized access to your website. Having a secure password is arguably the easiest method of improving the security of your site.
The best way to create a secure password is to make it long and include a variety of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and characters such as commas, percent signs, and parentheses. Some browsers such as Google Chrome will suggest highly complicated passwords that are stored securely in your account. Alternatively, software such as LastPass can store an unlimited number of passwords accessible by one master password.
As a general rule, you should never re-use passwords and try and make each one unique – that means not just changing part of the same password for different accounts – to make it harder for would-be hackers.
It is vital you keep on top of software updates for your website. Depending on the complexity of your site, you could have a large number of plugins that will require regular updates to ensure they are secure.
Cyber threats change and advance at the same rate as technology and software, so your outdated software may not withstand an up-to-date cyber attack. Software updates will often have a strong focus on security, not just performance, to reduce the risk of a potential attack.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as merely updating everything because not all updates play ball with each other. Some updates can cause glitches that can potentially crash your website, which is where the backups come in handy! Taking screenshots of each page is a great way to ensure consistency after performing any updates.
Limiting access to the back-end of your website will help mitigate the potential for a security breach. It is possible to set limits on anyone you are granting access to login in and work on your website. It can also be beneficial if you have multiple contributors to your website whom you only want to have access to (for example) publishing capabilities and not functionality.
The easiest way to do this is by adding people as subscribers in the Settings – General section of WordPress. Here you can set a New User Default Role as a subscriber and then customize their roles:
- Subscriber: Users can manage their profile, nothing more.
- Contributor: Allow a user to write and manage posts but not publish them.
- Author: Let users publish and manage their own posts.
- Editor: Users can publish and manage posts, including the posts of others.
- Administrator: Grants access to the site network, administration features, and every other feature on a single site.
Why do you need to take action now?
High levels of competition make it hard enough to stand out in the crowd, and neglecting your website security can potentially push your website further down the search results as search engines are now penalizing non-secure websites.
Regardless of how simple or complex your website is, your client experience is directly reliant on a secure and fully functioning website. The last thing you would want is to tarnish your business’ reputation with a malfunctioning website that gets blocklisted!
The good news is that adding website security need not be expensive or complicated. By implementing some of the essential features we have discussed, you can take a giant leap in improving your customer experience and building trust in your business.
Outsource your website security for peace of mind
Website security is a constant process with many moving parts. Keeping track of each component requires regular maintenance and a level of expertise that you may not have time to learn yourself. Cleaning up malware on your site is also about knowing what the vulnerabilities are and how hackers operate.
For this reason, outsourcing your website security to experts who will manually look through your site is a highly worthwhile and cost-effective investment. It will help ensure the smooth running of your website and the security of your client and business’ confidential information.
If you would like to know how our team of professionals can help improve the security of your website, contact us today.