Your website is a huge investment of both time and money — and prioritizing website security is the best way to protect that investment. But where do you start? Check out our go-to guide and learn exactly how to improve website security.
Create a Strong Password Policy
The easiest way to get access to your website is the same way you get into your site every day — with the password. That means the easiest way for someone else to access your site is with a password too.
Do you use your pet’s name as your password? What about your first car? Where you went to high school? Or maybe you use the same password for everything. Look, we’re not judging. Most everyone is guilty of that every once in a while, but your website is not the place to risk it.
A strong password policy is your first line of defense against anyone who may want to attack your website. This means using strong, unique passwords that you change regularly. A password manager is a great tool to help you and your team generate and store unique and random passwords for your website.
Enable Two-Factor Authentication
You know when you go to log in to a site, and it requires a one-time code that was texted to your phone or sent to your email? That’s just one version of two-factor authentication (or 2FA if you’re feeling techy.) While it can be annoying and time-consuming, it’s an important step in ensuring website security.
With 2FA, your website will stay secure even if your password policy fails and someone gets the password to your site. (This is also a good thing to implement for any password-protected account, from your bank to retail sites.)
Use a Secure Host for Your Site
Your site doesn’t just float around on the internet, it has to live on a physical server. Unless you want to build and maintain a server at your business — which is a massive headache — it’s probably better to pay a company to host your website for you.
Because this is the physical location of your website, it just makes sense that you need to trust the company that is hosting your website. Luckily, our clients never have to worry about this. We take extensive measures to ensure the security of our clients’ websites.
Log and Monitor Activity
When you get the keys to your shiny new website, you’re likely tempted to hand out login credentials to anyone that may need them. It’ll save everyone time later on if they don’t have to track down someone who has them, right? Not necessarily.
Most of the time, your employees are busy doing what you pay them to do — their job. Website security is probably not at the top of their mind when logging into your Content Management System (CMS). In the unfortunate case that they make a mistake or overlook an issue, this can cause a huge website security threat.
A good way to combat this is to track each team member who has access to your CMS and their administrative permissions. You’ll be able to make a record of who is doing what on the backend of your site, and update permissions accordingly.
Keep Employees Informed
While your employees can unintentionally cause a security breach, they’re also your first line of defense. Keep them informed of website best practices, like how to identify a phishing email, what to do if they think their computer has malware and how to keep passwords safe. This makes it much less likely that an error or mistake will cause a monumental issue down the line.
It’s a good idea to hold training sessions, or at least make website security a regular part of your internal communications, to raise awareness and foster a culture of website security within your organization.
Add HTTPS and an SSL Certificate
Having HTTPS and an SSL certificate should be at the top of your to-do list for how to improve website security. Not only does it encrypt sensitive information, like passwords and personal data — but it also verifies that your site is authentic, not some sketchy phishing scam. This helps build trust with your users and protects against cyber threats. Plus, it’s becoming a big deal for SEO, with search engines prioritizing secure sites in their rankings. So, make sure your site has HTTPS and an SSL certificate, and keep your users’ information safe and sound.
Regularly Backup Your Website
Let’s say the worst-case scenario happens — your website is hacked. What do you do now?
Well, if you have regularly scheduled backups to a storage application, like Backblaze, then you’ll be able to easily restore your website from a time before your site was compromised. From there, you’ll be able to address potential security issues to prevent future cyber threats. In the worst-worst-case scenario, you’ll be able to cancel your current website hosting before starting with a new hosting provider. Then, you can point your domain (or URL) to the new host. Obviously, starting from scratch should be your last option, but it is an option if all else fails.
Have Experts Update Plugins and Software
This one can be a little trickier than the rest. Yes, it’s important to keep your plugins and software up to date — but only if you really know what you’re doing. We regularly get frantic calls from clients because they updated their own plugins and their whole website broke. At that point, you’re basically trading a functional website for one that’s “secure” but not working. No one wants that.Some plugins aren’t reputable to begin with, so things can go very wrong, very quickly when you update them. Other plugins may be older and aren’t supported anymore. So when you try to update them, the same thing happens. It’s better to let the website experts — like us — handle this to ensure your website stays secure and functional.
Now You Know How to Improve Website Security
It’s good to know the basics of how to improve website security — but you don’t have to go it alone. Our team of experts is passionate about serving our clients and making sure their websites are as secure as possible. Get in touch with us today to set up a security audit, and you’ll be on your way to a safe and secure website.