What Every Business Owner Should Know About Website Security
Not all of us are technically-minded – that’s a simple truth that can’t be ignored. For some, the thought of having to deal with any part of your business’s online platform is about as appealing as eating a raw cactus.
But still… no matter whether you’re running a small business all by yourself, or have your own internal (or outsourced) tech team dealing with all the digital nuts and bolts, there are a number of things that you should have at least a basic familiarity with.
Why? Well, the buck stops with you. And to enjoy the kind of success your business deserves, you need to put potential customers’ minds at rest by making them confident that you know how to keep your website (and thus your customers’ precious data!) secure from hackers, data thieves and scam artists.
And that you also aren’t going to just steal their money for yourself, or give them a nasty surprise in the form of a system-obliterating virus. That’s a sure-fire way to ruin their week – and your own!
So, get ready to familiarise yourself with a few of the most essential web security basics – so you know exactly what to keep an eye out for, and what to insist your business website is kitted out with as the first line of defense!
You Should Purchase an SSL Certificate
This is a great place to start as it shows visitors that you’re serious about website security. Having an active SSL certificate on your site lends an immediate element of trust – notice the little green padlock that shows up next to an SSL-enabled website’s address in your browser.
That padlock, along with the word “Secure” that you see next to it, informs you that traffic going through this site is encrypted – and this is essential if you’re going to be taking payments or capturing customer data through forms.
After all… would you feel confident entering payment details or personal data into a site that isn’t secure? Nope, neither would we.
As an added benefit, in their search results Google now places SSL-enabled websites far above others that are not secure – so kitting yourself out with an SSL certificate could make for a quick and easy traffic boost due to increased visibility.
SSL certificates are relatively easy to put into place. Just get in touch with your web developer and they should be able to take care of it for you. Alternatively, your web host should also be able to handle it for you – just log in to your account and look for the option to add SSL certificates to your package.
You Need to Protect Your WordPress Installation from Hackers
One of our most highly recommended plug-ins for locking down your WordPress installation is called WordFence. Turning many layers of security into a quick and easy job, WordFence constantly scans your website for any malware or malicious files, and notifies you straight away if it finds anything that shouldn’t be there!
The plug-in also blocks brute force attacks, stopping hackers who attempt to overload your site by pounding it with streams of data, and can give you the ability to block traffic from specific countries should you not want it. There’s also a handy firewall built in to prevent “fake” traffic from hitting your site – so your analytical data remains as clean as possible, allowing you to make better informed decisions when managing your site’s performance.
If something’s not quite right on your website, the little beauty that is WordFence will fire off an email quicker than you can say “I love Odin Media!”
For your front-line defense, no matter your degree of technical know-how, we can’t recommend WordFence highly enough.
You Need to Perform Regular Website Backups
This is possibly the most essential thing you can do! Building security walls to prevent hacking and lost data is obviously very important, but let’s face it… hackers can be relentless these days.
Hell, it seems like every other week you hear of the latest FBI hack or secret government systems being infiltrated. When institutions such as these aren’t safe, it’s pretty obvious that even your best efforts as a business owner won’t be 100% successful – nothing is “uncrackable.”
So what can you do? Well, the best thing you can do is make sure that everything is backed up safely and regularly. Should the worst happen, getting back up to speed is only a restoration away.
If you’re using WordPress there are a few plug-ins that can take care of backups for you. Updraft is probably the easiest of these to get installed and configured on a budget.
Make sure you perform both a Database Backup and a File Backup. If you’re updating your site regularly, make sure to run off a backup after every update such as a blog post or any edits to pages.
You can also perform a manual backup if you have access to cpanel through your web host – though this is not recommended if you aren’t entirely sure what you’re doing in the backend of cpanel. With the wealth of easy-to-use plug-ins available nowadays, there’s really no need to head back there.
And that’s it: Our three biggest website security essentials for business owners! There are, of course, many other things to take care of – but starting with this foundation will get you moving on solid, stable ground… even if tinkering with tech is not your thing.
Have any other recommendations for essential plug-ins, or tips and tricks you regularly employ to keep your business – and your customers – safe online? Let us know in the comments!
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