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Cybercrimes are increasing every day, and small businesses are rapidly becoming the favorite targets for high-tech villains.
71% of data breaches target small and medium business ventures, according to the 2019 Ponemon Global State of Security report. Most small businesses are usually caught off-guard. As per the Ponemon report, only 14% of small businesses are adequately prepared to deal with cyber breaches. This lack of preparedness sees 60% of small businesses with serious cyber breaches go out of business within the first six months of the hack.
This article explains some of the best website security practices for your small online survey business to protect itself against cybersecurity threats.
The first and most crucial website security practice every small business website should maintain is the SSL certificate. SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Socket Layer. Transport Layer Security (TLS), the most recent version of the SSL certificate, might also be used in place of the SSL certificate. However, both the terms refer to the same thing – a technology used to encrypt data and communications between connections such as website servers and website browsers, or a mail server and mail client.
When an SSL certificate is installed on a website, it will convert the HTTP protocol into an HTTPS secure transfer protocol that ensures that all the data and sensitive information in transit is safeguarded from prying eyes and eavesdroppers. Because the communication is encrypted, intruders will not be in a position to read or decipher its intended meaning. Only the holder of the decryption key will decrypt and read the data.
Because your website transfers and holds sensitive data such as credit card and financial information, you must buy an SSL certificate for your website to protect the data. SSL certificates are usually acquired from trusted certificate providers. Today, there are several SSL certificates options that you could work with. Some of the leading SSL certificates include Comodo SSL certificate, Rapid SSL, GeoTrust, Thawte, and DigiCert SSL, etc.
It is estimated that over 80% of data breaches result from weak and vulnerable passwords. Using strong passwords for your admin interface, cPanel, or File Transfer Protocol could go a long way towards ensuring that your website is safe from cyber breaches.
The first line of attack that hackers will try to access your servers is breaking through your passwords. If they find your passwords weak, they will have a nice ride into your website servers and data repositories. This is the time to adhere to the best password hygiene. It would be best if you created hard-to-guess passwords capable of protecting your website from all kinds of password vulnerabilities.
According to Avast’s suggestion on strong passwords, when selecting security questions for your password protection, don’t pick questions whose answers can be guessed with a simple social media search. Choose hard-to-guess questions where only you know the answer.
Passwords alone can never be enough and fully effective in protecting your website against unauthorized access. You need an extra authentication layer referred to as two-factor authentication. In the two-factor authentication security layer, apart from using your login credentials to access your websites, a user will also have to use an extra authentication feature such as biometric authentication or OTPs. Hackers usually do not have access to the second factor, which makes your website safer.
The cybersecurity landscape is more of a cat and mouse game. Hackers relentlessly identify loopholes and software vulnerabilities that could give them leeway into users’ websites. On the other hand, software vendors and system developers try their best to fix the vulnerable spots.
They will release a safer and secure software version that addresses the vulnerabilities that existed in the previous versions. This is where the “new software version available” notification pops up on your screen. Usually, you will have two options: update immediately or dismiss the update until later in the future. The latter is a bad option that invites hackers to your website. Software updates should be dealt with immediately. Dismissing them is only inviting trouble.
Once you install the update, you are sure of your safety. The new updates also bring in improved functionalities, among many other benefits.
Security audits will help to give you the general security posture. You will get to understand your weak spots, which hackers could leverage to conduct data breaches. Regular security audits and scanning will help you know how best to remediate the security vulnerabilities in your software.
It is important to note that security scanners are usually technical and require expertise outside your small business. Suppose you do not have the technical know-how to deal with vulnerability scanners; in that case, we recommend that you outsource it to an expert or find a user-friendly scanner such as the McAfee Security Scan Plus.
Not everything your small business has should appear on Google.
For instance, some admin pages might point to areas of your website that cyber attackers are after. So, it would be best if you make it harder for a hacker to find such pages by not displaying them on your website. Luckily for you, keeping these pages from the public is not that hard. All you need to do is to add a simple Disallow: command to your robots.txt file.
Risks such as data losses and data breaches should not bring your small business to its knees. A proper data backup and recovery strategy will give back all your data and assure your business of perpetual existence long after a data breach.
One of the perfect website security practices for small businesses is to limit access privileges. A login that remains active for over a month could be risky to the security of your data and your business. If the device falls into the wrong hands, you might be staring at one of the most devastating data breaches in the history of your business.
The best option is to have all logins expire after a few minutes or hours of inactivity. Users should be required to log in again to access their accounts. Although it might look like a tedious task to log in several times a day, this tip is better than having a hacker easily access your servers.
Securing your small business website is an investment worth making. First, you will need to purchase and install anti-virus software. The software will regularly scan through your website to identify any form of malware that might be out to harm your website or your network. If you wish to protect your website against malware threats, you must purchase and install anti-malware software today.
Additionally, it will be essential to use a firewall to filter out dangerous traffic that might harm your network. The firewall will ensure that only safe traffic is allowed to reach your website.
Websites bring a lot of benefits to small businesses. Through websites, small businesses can reach out to a massive global customer base. Most small businesses rush to create websites to have an online presence and enjoy these benefits. However, they tend to overlook some of the most crucial website security tips that might expose them to security vulnerabilities. This article has explained some of the best tips to safeguard your website against security threats. All these tips working in unison will yield a perfect security strategy that will keep your website out of reach of hackers.