Businesses operating online are lucky the internet provides them with access to millions of potential consumers. However, easy access to people across the globe also opens your website up to potential threats. Online trust is no longer just about a great reputation but about cyber-security as well.
In the wake of the Facebook data breach, many users are taking stronger precautions to protect their data and businesses should do the same. Hackers everywhere are after important data such as credit card details or personal identity documents.
Considering over 50% of retail sites are always vulnerable, business owners that don’t secure their websites properly are at risk of losing more than their online reputation.
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In the digital age, data is probably the most important resource a person, or business can own. If you, like millions of other businesses are encouraging consumers to make online transactions, it’s your responsibility to keep their data safe.
We’ve had a look at the most popular type of websites businesses use on a day-to-day basis and found some easy ways you can ensure your data and customers data, is protected.
Check out the list below and make sure your business isn’t open to any threats:
1. E-commerce website
An e-commerce website is probably the most popular type of website for businesses operating online. These are typically used for buying or selling products and services and these transactions can be B2B, B2C, C2C and even C2B.
In a nutshell, these websites deal with the transfer of funds and information, so how can you keep your information secure?
Hosting and HTTPS:
If you’re not hosting your website yourself, make sure you’re using a reputable company to do this for you. HTTPS and SSL software have become the basic standard for secure websites and they’re necessary if you want visitors to trust your site.
All sites can be hacked and if you’ve fallen victim to this, having a reputable company on your site can help immensely with data recovery.
Don’t assume that because your website is live that it’s secure. All websites need to be consistently maintained and updated to keep them secure from threats.
Secure your admin area by changing and checking login credentials and passwords periodically. Look out for too many failed login attempts, and always ensure you have a recent backup of your data in the unlikely event of a breach.
While the above methods are a great way to keep your information secure, having a multi-layered security approach is the ultimate way to keep your data safe.
Add a firewall or Content Delivery Network (CDN) to protect your servers and always ensure you have security procedures in place in the event of a high-risk order or security breach.
2. Web Application
Web applications are fast becoming the preferred platform for online transactions. These are interactive as opposed to informational and they’re accessed over a network using HTTP rather than existing within a device’s memory.
Common web applications include webmail, online stores, instant messaging services and more. Since they deal mainly with input from a user, it’s imperative that they’re secure.
Update Software Regularly:
As mentioned above, secure platforms are must be consistently updated and maintained. Web applications deal with a lot of data input, so updating them regularly will help protect private user information on the application.
Watch out for Uploaded Files:
Web applications are based on user input and not all users have good intentions.
Watch out for file uploads that seem out of the ordinary (whether in file size or frequency of upload). These could contain malicious software meant to disrupt your business or steal data.
A sure way to protect your business and its data is to put limits on what users can do when using your application.
Check who has access to which directories and only give authorisation where it matters. Remember, most users can accomplish what they need to with very minimal permissions.
3. Company/Service-based Business Website
A company or service-based website is commonly used as a marketing tool. Typically, you’ll use this type of website to convince visitors to become customers. Your referrals likely come from external sources such as Google or social media.
Users on these portals are trying to find the best company to meet their needs, whether through information or articles you provide, a portfolio of work, or customer testimonials.
It goes without saying, you need to consistently update your company website. You should also update your knowledge and stay informed on the latest trends, techniques and news surrounding website security.
The more you know, the better you can protect your data.
Tightened Network Security:
With a company website, your network security is your responsibility. Ensure your passwords and logins aren’t simple and contain a mix of characters and numbers.
Scan for malware regularly and if you use forms on your website, ensure you have a security protocol that fights against SQL injections (where people put code into forms that can hack your website).
4. WordPress Site
WordPress provides many businesses with a relatively low-cost website platform. It’s likely the easiest, open-source software you can use to create a website or blog. Some even regard it as the most flexible blogging and content management system for beginners, since it offers a wide range of plugins to customize to your business needs.
While WordPress is free, flexible and accessible, this open source software is maintained by a group of volunteers and can be risky if you don’t put in the necessary precautions.
We can’t stress how important backing up your data is, especially on open source software like WordPress. Whether its hardware failure or human error, data loss is, unfortunately, something that can (and does) affect businesses.
Switch to an automatic back up service so you have one less thing to worry about. For WordPress, the Sucuri plugin is highly recommended to audit and monitor your website effortlessly.
WordPress’s popularity also makes it an easy target for hackers. You don’t need to be a web security expert to know you should have a strong password and limit the number of login attempts you allow at any given time.
Add security questions or double opt-in to take your security up a notch and ensure you’ve password protected your wp-admin directory since this is where your main data will be stored.
Whether it’s a custom-built e-commerce site or a flexible WordPress website, online security is a real threat to your business. Make sure you’ve bulked up on these necessary precautions to keep your data secure and your customers coming back to your online business.