Securing Your Website

Web security hardening

Digital marketers and website owners always seem to ignore the security aspect of their websites.

The main reason is that they usually trust their web development company to deal with securing their website.

Most online business owners think that if something goes wrong and their website gets hacked, they will transfer the responsibility to their hosting provider or web development company.

While this could be the correct assumption, it will only work if the contracted web developers or your hosting provider included complete website security within the scope of the signed contract.

Unfortunately, most of them don’t include such provisions. Simply because in most circumstances securing the website requires a different type of specialization, hardware, and know-how.

In almost all situations in which website security is part of your hosting contract, the security will be very limited. Here it definitely pays to have a professional web manager revise your web development or hosting contracts and negotiate better conditions on your behalf.

Although you will need to pay for such mediation, the cost of that will be next to nothing in comparison to what it will cost you to repair a hacked website and save its reputation.

Statistics show us that when it comes to matters of security, most online businesses react responsively instead of being proactive. Namely, they only react once their online business is hacked and data has been compromised.

Needless to say, that is not a very sensible approach because a serious hack will damage your website and affect your business’ whole reputation.

Not to mention the stress, possible legal issues, and the high costs associated with fixing the website and reassuring nervous clients that you can be trusted again.

Some damage can never be repaired, for example, customer data leak. This type of data will be sold and reused by bad actors for years.

Read the full article on the National Post website

How to secure your website properly

There are many aspects that need to be considered before securing your website. One of the most important ones is running a firewall. The best firewalls are physical and external.

When I say physical, I mean external hardware that acts as an additional server through which your incoming and outgoing web traffic gets passed and filtered.

This type of external firewall is designed and programmed to filter and mislead bad actors like hackers and/or automated bots, trojans, and other malware.

More importantly, such an external firewall will hide and protect your server’s IP address which will make any serious attack futile. For example, massive DDOS attacks that overload the server with a high number of requests can be mitigated with an external firewall.

Now, you may be thinking that you have a firewall already.

It’s true. You probably do. Many hosting companies have a firewall, but it is usually limited to software firewall installed on the whole server. This is not the same thing and the firewall of your hosting provider is configured to protect the servers, not your websites.

This is similar to WordPress or other content management systems┬┤ firewall installations.

As you know, WordPress is very versatile and you can install additional third-party firewall and security plugins. Many of them are free. But although these anti-virus and firewall plugins let you configure and address many security aspects of your website, they will not protect it on the IP and DNS levels.

In order to be protected on those levels, your web traffic needs to be bypassed through an external firewall server.

There are other technical measures and best practices to protect against various types of cyber attacks. Here are some steps you can take to secure your website:

Keep your software and plugins up to date

Regularly update the software and plugins that your website runs on, including your CMS, web server, and any third-party scripts. This will ensure that any known vulnerabilities are patched.

Use an SSL certificate

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate encrypts the communication between your website and visitors’ browsers, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Use strong and unique passwords

Use strong and unique passwords for all user accounts associated with your website, including your CMS and hosting account. Use a password manager to help generate and store these passwords.

Regularly monitor your website for vulnerabilities

Use website scanning tools to check your website for vulnerabilities and report any issues to your development team.

Limit access to sensitive areas

Only give access to sensitive areas of your website, such as the CMS, to authorized users who need it. You should also modify and use different directory names for the administration areas. Instead of the commonly used directory names like /admin or /wp-admin/ or login/ use something completely different, like banana33/ or something even more complex.

Regularly backup your website

Backups are essential in case your website is hacked or experiences a technical failure. Be sure to store them offsite and test them to ensure they can be restored properly.

Train your employees on website security

Educate your employees on best practices for website security and the dangers of phishing, social engineering, and other common attack methods. Most errors stem from ignorance, so education and implementation of the right security measures is very important.

By implementing these measures and staying aware of potential threats, you can help protect your website and the sensitive information of your customers.

The best thing about securing your website

Now I know that as a website owner, the last thing you want to hear is about a possible hack. You dread thinking about securing your website because there are so many other things to work on, such as website management, search engine optimization, content editing, conversion optimization, etc… to increase sales and boost profitability.

You don’t want to hear about new expenses for things that haven’t happened yet and possibly never will.

That is completely understandable but you should know that there are many advantages to securing your website properly.

Your website will respond faster.

Since all malicious traffic is blocked before it reaches your hosting server, your website will be more responsive to real users. There will be fewer fake requests that may be overloading the server.

Trojans can install scripts and ‘feed’ off the server’s resources to run other scripts. This type of software can be quite intelligent. It can read your server’s capability and your RAM limitations and it will operate within those limits.

Your web traffic statistics will also be more accurate.

There are new bots and malicious software unleashed online every day. Google Analytics can’t decipher and differentiate all of them automatically. Many bots will actually account for legitimate user traffic in Analytics. Unfortunately, in that case, your business and sales model may be based on fake bot traffic.

Your online business will finally be protected (..this one is obvious )

When you contract an external firewall provider and subscribe to their services they will take backups of your website and resolve any security issues that arise.

This is important to remember because repairing a hacked website can be very expensive and may take a few days or weeks. With a subscription to a firewall service, you usually get a free post-hack recovery service immediately.

It’s a reassurance that nothing like that will happen and you can focus on other things. In essence, with a firewall subscription, you’re paying for peace of mind.

Free CDN and faster website regional delivery

Most anti-virus and firewall companies use many servers in various countries for increased security. They keep a cached snapshot of your website on each server. Effectively that becomes a content delivery network.

For example, SUCURI company offers free CDN with each firewall server.

If your server is in Germany, and you have a visitor from the USA, serving your content from a server located in the USA will decrease loading time by a substantial margin.

This, in turn, will increase engagement and end-user experience. Loading time plays a very significant role in how we browse websites and make decisions when we shop online.

Conclusion

In conclusion, securing your website is crucial for the success of any online business. With the increasing number of cyber-attacks and data breaches, it is important to take proactive measures to protect your website and your customers’ personal and financial information.

According to recent statistics, 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, and 60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber attack go out of business within six months. Additionally, the average cost of a data breach for a small business is $200,000, highlighting the importance of investing in website security.

Implementing security measures such as regular software updates, SSL certificates, and strong passwords can greatly reduce the risk of a cyber attack. It is also important to regularly monitor your website for vulnerabilities and to train employees on how to detect and respond to potential threats.

In today’s digital age, having a secure website is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. By taking the necessary steps to protect your website, you can not only safeguard your business but also build trust with your customers and increase your chances of success.

If you are looking for a reliable website manager who can help you secure your website and improve its accessibility, ask me for a free consultation.

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