In an age where the digital landscape is continually evolving, the need to safeguard your business’s website against online threats has never been greater. October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, an annual event that serves as a reminder of the ever-growing threats that websites, no matter how big or small, face in our online world.
As a business owner, you bear the responsibility of safeguarding your customers, suppliers and partners to ultimately protect your own business. Cyber criminals continually adapt to exploit vulnerabilities, making it essential to stay ahead of the curve to ensure your website is robust and secure.
Whilst web security is not every business owner’s area of expertise, there are a few specific measures that must be in place to help protect your business online and, by extension, your customers. In this article, we've put together a checklist outlining key security elements, from SSL certificates to DDoS attack mitigation and user data validation, each playing a pivotal role in safeguarding your digital assets.
Keeping your CMS and plugins up to date ensures that you have the latest security patches and features, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber criminals.
When updates are not regularly maintained, they may contain known security flaws that hackers can exploit, leaving your website vulnerable to data breaches and other security issues.
The best way to stay protected is to check for any updates and schedule regular updates. This is best performed by a professional who can stage or test updates before going live on the website, to avoid disruption to your website.
Similarly, to CMS updates, server updates often include security patches and improvements which help to safeguard your website. Ignoring these updates can also leave it vulnerable to malicious actors, which can lead to service disruptions and other security issues that can be detrimental to your website and customers.
Testing in a controlled environment and ensuring backup procedures are in place before making changes to the live server are best practices when conducting regular updates to the server.
Conducting regular server scans is crucial to maintain website security. Server scans help identify vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, and potential security issues before they can be exploited. Similarly, to ensuring updates are regularly performed on the server, this proactive approach is essential for a robust security.
Strong passwords are the first line of defence against unauthorised access and data breaches. A strong password typically includes a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. It should be unique, making it harder for cybercriminals to guess or crack.
To enhance your business's password security, consider implementing the following practices:
Encourage employees and users to create strong, unique passwords.
Set policies for regular password updates, such as every 60 to 90 days.
Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security.
Educate your team about the dangers of password sharing or reuse.
Use a reputable password manager to help users generate and securely store complex passwords.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks is a type of cyber crime where the attacker floods a server with internet traffic to overwhelm the infrastructure, causing the site the slow down or crash, so actual users cannot access the website. This can lead to disruption, revenue loss, and a damage to your reputation.
Using a content delivery network (CDN), such as Cloudflare can help protect against DDoS attacks, thanks to its advanced DDoS protection and security services.
Form validation occurs when users enter data in a form on your website and the browser and/or web server checks if the data inputted is in the correct format.
Failing to validate user data can lead to several issues and is one of the main causes of security vulnerabilities. These include inaccurate information, incomplete records, and security vulnerabilities.
To ensure data integrity in online forms, consider whether your website has server-side validation to prevent malicious input, provides real-time feedback to users and employs strict validation rules for different data types (e.g., email addresses, phone numbers, dates).