Best Practices to Secure Your Business Website in 2020
Your website is one of the most valuable assets of your business, primarily if your business is based online (such as an eCommerce store). But the online world is rife with hackers and security threats, making cybersecurity imperative.
Countless cases of cybersecurity breaches prove just how vital it is to secure your business website. For instance, in late 2016, two hackers were able to get names, email addresses, and contact numbers of over 57 million users of the Uber app. The driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers were also exposed. This data breach led to a $20 billion drop in the company’s valuation, firing of the Chief Security Officer (CSO), and a tarnished reputation of the company.
Keep in mind - hackers target businesses of all sizes. Numerous small businesses, including SaaS, agency websites, blogs, and eCommerce stores, fall victim to hackers every day. The last thing you want is to lose your business, or worse, compromise your customers’ data, due to a cybersecurity lapse on your part.
And so, here are the top five best practices you can implement immediately to start making your website more secure in 2020 and beyond.
1. Protect Sensitive Customer Data With an SSL
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates encrypt data sent to your servers. So when a potential customer types in their credit card details or personal information, anyone “overhearing” your exchange won’t be able to extract that precious data. For example, this is important if you’re running an eCommerce store and require the visitor to enter credit card information during checkout.
What’s more, SSLs are considered so essential that Google uses them as a search ranking factor, and without one, your site wouldn’t be able to rank well in search results.
Typically, if you’re using a reputable web hosting provider, an SSL comes as standard. Other essential security measures that go with it are DDoS protection, network monitoring, and remote backup. The hosting company’s security protocols will act as your first line of defense against hackers, so pick your provider wisely.
2. Use Two Factor Authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your website will provide you with an added layer of security every time someone tries to log in to your site. You’re likely already familiar with what 2FA is.
In essence, it is a two-step verification process wherein instead of entering a mere password to log in, you’re sent a verification code to your phone or email address that confirms that the person logging in is indeed you.
You can either get your developer to enable 2FA on your website or use an authenticator app such as Authy or Google Authenticator. Mainly, if your site is using WordPress, installing the Google Authenticator plugin is a quick, easy, and effective way to secure your website’s login.
3. Tighten Your Site’s Login
A login on your website’s backend that remains valid for more than a few days, notwithstanding inactivity, is a risk to your business, and more importantly, customer data.
It might be bothersome to log in many times a day. Still, it’s better than having the wrong person get logged in effortlessly and steal all your invaluable information. So, allow logins to expire after no more than a few hours of inactivity.
And this should probably go without saying, but always be cautious about whom you share your site’s login privileges with. Only a handful of select people you can fully trust should have the login rights. If an employee that’s no longer associated with your business has the rights, make sure to change the credentials on time.
Also, set a strict limit on the number of login attempts. Doing so will protect you against brute force attacks. If your site is developed on WordPress, installing a plugin like Limit Login Attempts Reloaded or WP Limit Login Attempts is a nifty way to thwart brute force attacks.
4. Test Your Website for Vulnerabilities
You can use a vulnerability scanner to reveal your site’s weak points, something that hackers are always on the hunt for. A vulnerability scanner is helpful because this is a tool that thinks just like those cyberpunks do — probing a network, looking for weak passwords, and finding soft spots to exploit.
That is why it is crucial to test your website for vulnerabilities often, even as frequently as daily. New vulnerabilities are created all the time, and something secure last week may not be safe today. If possible, opt for paid tools like the McAfee SECURE Vulnerability Scanner for the most comprehensive website tests that provide easy-to-understand reports with information on how to fix each vulnerability. But if you’re looking for reliable free alternatives, consider Wireshark or Nmap.
5. Perform Frequent Backups
You’re probably tired of hearing this, but taking regular backup of your website is imperative. Akin to eating your veggies, there are valid reasons why people sound condescending about backups.
Even if all your important files are stored safely on hard drives in data-centers around the globe, those hard drives can still fail. Or, if your website gets taken down by a hacker, the best way to get up and running again in no time is to have a backup.
While some hosting service providers perform automatic backups for you, very few of them back up as much as you need and on the desired frequency (such as once a month). But ideally, you should look for a bare minimum of a weekly backup (preferably daily if your business gets daily orders). For that, you need to spend a little extra cash and use a separate automated backup service such as Sucuri.
The Ball Is in Your Court
A well-guarded and well-maintained website will present a secure environment for your potential customers and boost the odds of more conversions. Not to mention, it will make your business more trustworthy and improve customer retention.
So, don’t wait for a hacker to remind you of the importance of securing your website. Prevention is always better than cure. Your best bet is to take cybersecurity very seriously and start implementing all the best practices discussed above pronto.
The digital revolution has brought down boundaries between consumers and companies in the retail space by a considerable margin. continue reading