Picture this: You get your first car ever. How exciting! Your friends are pumped, too. Everyone is thrilled about the things you’ll do together.
Since they ride with you constantly, they feel comfortable leaving some of their possessions in your car. Notebooks, wallets, and keys for example.
A month or two later, your car is stolen.
Thieves take everything inside, both from you and your friends. As if that weren’t enough, they also use your car to facilitate other illegal activities.
Eventually, a week later, they get caught. Your car is back with you and the nightmare is over.
Or is it?
You notice your friends are now hesitant to leave anything in your car, afraid it might get stolen again. They might not even feel safe riding in it anymore. It might look the same to the naked eye, but what if they tampered with the brakes? Did they steal any parts?
This happens to business owners all over the world every single day.
Well, not to their cars (hopefully), but to their websites.
They pour years and huge amounts of work into their business or brand to create, grow, and maintain a loyal customer base.
Then they get hacked.
Once your website is compromised, and your customers’ information is stolen, they will likely never look at it the same way. No matter how secure you make it after, they will be much more careful and dubious. If they keep using it at all.
Don’t panic, though. You don’t need to obsess over this, mainly because it’s futile to do so. Even if you build a fortress around your website, there will probably be someone skilled enough to breach it.
But don’t ignore it, either. That’s even worse. Even if you think your business is small, or not attractive to hackers, it is. Researchers estimate a business falls victim to a cyber-attack every 11 seconds in 2021.
They don’t care about what’s inside, but they know you do.
So, how do you stay at the top of your website security game?
Here are a few simple things you can (and should) always do to give yourself the best chance of blocking as many attacks as possible, or hopefully have them never happen at all.
Stay Up To Date
Whether you host your website in your own server, with a hosting service, or in a CMS like WordPress, keeping your software updated is at the top of the list.
Having the latest and greatest security software and plug-ins is only effective until the last time you update them. A hacker might create an exploit next week, completely new to the world. Since it has never been seen before, your software can’t protect you.
However, these companies are good at what they do. That’s how they stay in business. They constantly scan the web for new threats and add them to their protection software. None of this new protection can help unless you stay constantly up to date.
More likely than not, if done promptly, you’ll get the update way before being exposed to new malware.
Use Strong Passwords
Well, not so fast. Believe it or not, the 10 most common passwords used around the world are all still a combination of 123456, abc, or the word “password”.
Anything regarding your website must be protected by a strong password. As a minimum, you’ll want it to be 8 characters (the longer the better) and include a combination of all numbers, letters, and special characters.
If you want more tips on how to create secure and effective passwords, make sure to subscribe to get updates as we explore this topic more in-depth in the future.
Make Sure to Use HTTPS
Having an SSL certificate on your website serves two purposes:
First, it makes it safer. Which is ultimately our goal. It encrypts the communication between your visitors and your site, so that no one can spy on the information you are exchanging.
Second, it makes your visitor trust you. Some might say this is equally valuable.
It does not only make them feel you care about their security, but HTTPS is now so ingrained in the web, that even people that have no idea what encryption, SSL, or cybersecurity is, instantly know that if a website does not have HTTPS, the site is untrustworthy. To be fair, it most likely is.
We previously discussed how difficult (or impossible) it is to think your website will be 100% protected every minute of every day.
So, what if your website does get breached despite your best efforts?
A backup can make that a mere inconvenience.
Easier said than done, though. Doing a daily or weekly backup usually means a lot of extra work. But it’s also extra important.
What if you are attacked, and the backup is 3 months old? Depending on your industry, the website would be so outdated, it might as well be gone.
Thankfully, there are services that can help us automate this and take it off of our minds. Frequent backups are one of the most valuable investments you can make regarding your website.
Cover these few points, and you’ll always be one step ahead. Contrary to popular belief, hackers do sleep. You just need to be ready for when they wake up.