If you are like many business owners, website security is the thing that never crosses your mind. This is especially so if you are a small business owner who owns a small e-commerce website or runs a small blog as we tend to believe that we are not as much of a target for hackers as compared to the bigger players.
But you could not be more wrong; hackers crawl the entire web looking for vulnerable websites big and small. As stats show, nearly 50,000 websites are hacked every day. So it is vital to have a robust security system for any website. Website security is so important because your website is your storefront, your brand, and the first point of contact with your audience. If you do not secure your website you could irreparably damage critical business relations and destroy your blog.
Some of the dangers of having an insecure website include having hackers install malware that is spread to users, theft of transaction and credit card information, theft of client information such as email addresses and names, and crashing or taking over the site.
- You Data Accessibility
Authorization features are the most common ways through which hackers breach your website’s security. You need to go with a host that has robust access and user permissions, file management, applications, and login systems.
- A good host is one that uses Secure Socket Shell for logins into the server or the website. The best hosts typically also have RSA keys hardened further with passphrases to prevent unauthorized access into the server or website. You should also find a host that makes it easy to whitelist good actors and blacklist potentially malicious actors.
- When it comes to file management you need a host that comes with robust and secure password permissions for file uploads, transfer, and maintenance. A reliable host will provide remote access to website server following SFTP and FTP best practice.
- The best host that cares about your business will have and enforce a policy of strong passwords for logging into the server and website. Another important aspect of access especially for a business website is the ability to have two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication provides a two-layered security system, and you may have to provide not only passwords but also have to enter a code sent to your phone or email to log into the server or website.
- Check the Backups Options
You could lose all your hard work in an instant if a hacker attack against your website is successful. To be safe from such an eventuality, you need a web host that provides an effective and reliable backup and restore options. Good hosts typically provide frequent, automatic, and redundant backups of all your website files.
Research shows that more than 65% of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan which includes data loss. That is why it’s so important to always check the backup files that the host provides and ascertain that they are working as expected. It is no fun to have your website crash or being hacked and then discover that you do not have any working backup and restore files.
- DDoS Protection
Denial of Service attack (DDoS) is the most prevalent source of financial loss to businesses online. A DDoS attack will disrupt your web applications, email, and your entire website by overloading critical resources such as the memory, CPU, and bandwidth of your server, making services unavailable for normal visitors. If you have a business online, whether it is a blog or an e-commerce site, you could face such an attack.
The best hosts will typically have excellent DDoS protection technologies to protect critical applications, email, and websites. Such technology needs to have the capability to automatically trigger as soon as it detects any hint of an attack. It should also have the capacity to filter and block fraudulent traffic while letting through all legitimate traffic.
Having a host that provides such protection will ensure that you do not have to deal with deteriorated service, loss of productivity, customer dissatisfaction, and lost revenues.
- Software Updates
One of the best things a host can do for you is to protect you from software vulnerabilities from the software installed on your website and on its servers. If you are using a content management system such as WordPress, your most vulnerable software include, scripts, apps, plugins, and the content management system (CMS) itself.
Almost 56% of hacked WordPress blogs are using outdated CMS apps, according to Sucuri report. A good host will either provide a managed service that will update your software for you or will allow you to automatically configure your website to update to the latest versions of software that is less vulnerable to hackers.
On the other hand, a good host will typically have strong update and patch management processes for their servers that deal with any new vulnerabilities in new versions of the software. New updates of software typically have security holes that could present a way for hackers to get into the server and wreak havoc on your website. As such, the host needs to have reliable, repeatable, and consistent reporting frameworks that ensure all systems are working properly and are up to date.
The most reliable way to determine the trustworthiness of a web host is to read their reviews online. Nonetheless, a lot of reviews online are convoluted given that they are written by the hosts themselves, resellers, and affiliates.
There is another way to get legitimate reviews. The hidden gem of true feedbacks is web hosting forums. Since these are usually written by persons that have actually used the hosting services, they will be a true reflection of the service quality and trustworthiness.
Another way you can determine if a host is trustworthy is to plug their phone number into a reverse phone lookup service. Tools like that will search for information on hosting provider by its phone number in their database and will tell you if your prospective host has been flagged as a scammer, or even if it has negative reviews.
Web security does not have to be a very complicated process. With a good web host, you will find that a lot of the processes will be hands off and automated most of the time. However, while there is no unified solution that will secure your blog or business website, choosing the most trustworthy host and using the right software that is regularly updated are two of the most critical things you can do.
Nonetheless, while your web host could provide much of the security we have outlined, you also need to be proactive and put in place measure to protect your website. Apart from the backups on the server host, ensure that your website files are automatically backed up in a cloud, on your computer, or other storage devices as regularly as possible.
When all is said and done, automation of your processes and following simple safety procedures and guidelines should keep your website online, secure, and safe from hackers.