Whether your website has remained safe throughout its existence or has experienced cyber attacks in the past, the truth is that all websites are at risk for viruses, malware, and hackers. A good website security strategy will protect your site from these threats.
Below are seven essential steps you should take to ensure your website always remains secure.
While backups are not a direct form of website security, they are essential for disaster recovery. If you don't have backups, you can't restore your site after an attack or major disaster.
Backups should be stored offsite and in an easy format to restore your site (like an archive file). The frequency you need to back up depends on how much time and effort you require to recreate the data in an emergency. For example, suppose your entire business depends on being able to access this data immediately after a crash or hack. In that case, investing in more frequent backups might be worthwhile than someone with less critical information that could be restored from older copies later down the road.
Make sure that whatever software you use for backing up also has regular testing built into its schedule. This way, you can spot any potential issues early rather than when disaster strikes later on!
Periodic Software Updates
When running a website, you need to keep the software that powers up to date. Software updates fix bugs and security issues, so you should have these applied whenever available.
As a rule, always keep your operating system and any applications that run on it updated (e.g., web browsers). For example:
- WordPress and other CMS platforms should be updated whenever new ones are released.
- The latest version of your hosting control panel usually contains security fixes and new features (e.g., additional plugins).
To ensure you have the latest version on all of your sites and applications at all times:
- Manually check whether any updates are available by logging into each application or site. Follow the instructions provided by developers for updating their software.
Cleaning and Removing Unused Plugins, Extensions, and Themes
Another tip for effective website security is to remember to remove any unused plugins, extensions, or themes from your site. These can include vulnerabilities that will affect your website. Before you start removing anything from your site, it's important to remember that you should always back up everything first. Cleaning up old files and removing unused themes, plugins, and extensions from your website is recommended. This will help ensure that your site is running smoothly and that there are no unnecessary files on the server.
Periodic Passwords Reset
Reset your passwords every three months or so, on average. Be careful where you store your passwords - storing them digitally may make them susceptible to hacking.
Create passwords that combine the following:
- Upper- and lowercase letters
- Special characters
It's also critical to ensure your passwords use words you can remember but that aren't easily guessed by others. Don't use your birthday, social security number, or other personally identifiable information.
Periodic External/User-Side Malware Scan/Monitoring
One of the most important steps in website security is to use services that monitor internet threats and make them visible. In other words, you need to pay attention to what's happening on the Web outside your environment. These days, there are so many ways for attackers (malware authors) to compromise computers. In fact, it's hard for even the best security professionals to stay on top of everything.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools available for free or cheap that can help you manage risk. Use Quttera's ThreatSign platform for more comprehensive scanning. It will allow you to discover if Google Safe Browsing has blocked any domains before they make it into your environment. By comparing DNS records with those provided by these services, you can also detect malware droppers associated with known compromises elsewhere on the Web—which could indicate something suspicious in your organization.
Periodic Internal/Server-Side Malware Scan/Monitoring
In addition to external malware scanning, it is important that you also perform server-side monitoring. This will allow you to detect and remove malicious content before a customer can access it. If left undetected, the malware could spread across your website and cause further damage.
You should have regular malware scan/monitoring done—ideally once per week and by professionals. For example, Quttera's ThreatSign platform provides effective web security services including regular malware scanning and monitoring for our clients' websites. This way, they have peace of mind about their digital security needs.
Web Application Firewall
A web application firewall (WAF) is a security technology that protects websites from malicious attacks. WAFs are placed between your website and the internet, which allows them to block common hacker attempts before they reach your server.
A WAF stops hackers from being able to access sensitive information on your website, including passwords, personal data, and credit card numbers. It also keeps hackers from accessing resources like databases or servers, so they can't steal any data stored inside those systems. Some WAFs will detect when someone is trying to access an unauthorized resource so it can automatically shut down that connection before any damage occurs. Other types stop all connections until someone has requested permission first (this prevents unknown users from accessing anything without permission).
Good Cybersecurity is an Essential Part of a Successful Website
Website protection and website security are both essential parts of a successful website. The steps outlined above can help you protect yourself from hackers and other malicious users who may try to attack your site.
Partner with Quttera's ThreatSign website protection platform to enhance your response and preventative capabilities. Our WAF and other services can bolster your website security posture in a way that minimizes risk and damage. For more on how ThreatSign can help, contact us today.