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Cyber Security

Small business owners must keep their companies secure online

By January 26, 2022April 18th, 2024No Comments

Published by The Hartford

6 Website Security Best Practices for Small Businesses

Every day, small business owners confront more than their fair share of challenges. Cybersecurity is no exception. Small business owners must keep their companies secure online, from analyzing their risk to finding the right tools to mitigate it. You understand the need to protect your website from hackers, but as you get into the weeds of website vulnerabilities, you might find yourself confronted with complicated concepts and solutions. Even so, there are certain fundamental best practices to follow to improve your website’s security.

Let’s learn how to protect your data from loss or espionage and how to provide a hack-free experience to your consumers and clients to keep your business running smoothly! We’ve compiled this list of six website security best practices for small businesses that you can implement right now.

1. Update your software.

When it comes to your website’s security, it’s always a good idea to remain on top of the latest updates. This one is relatively simple, especially if you’re using a website builder that takes care of software updates and security concerns. If you’re using a platform like WordPress, though, you’ll need to stay on top of things and run updates as required. You must upgrade your WordPress core software and any plugins you have installed. It’ll become obsolete and expose your website to viruses, bugs, and malicious code from hacker attacks if you don’t.

2. Use strong passwords.

Your password is often the only thing that stands between a hacker and access to your valuable information. A security breach can take hours or even days to fix, and you don’t want to squander that time. It’s better to spend just 15-20 minutes updating strong passwords or creating new ones. This will go a long way toward keeping hackers out of your website.

Create a password with at least 10 characters. It should contain a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. So, even if hackers use advanced tools, it will be more challenging to break in. Once you’ve got your new super-strong passwords, be cautious with them — don’t share them, even with friends, and change them about once every quarter.

3. Encrypt with SSL.

Another thing you can do to protect your website is install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. You may not know it, but you constantly come across SSL when browsing the web — that’s what gives the “S” in “HTTPS” and the padlock in the address bar.

Having an SSL certificate is essential if you’re taking credit card payments, requesting passwords or sending data. SSL enables the safe transmission of sensitive information and helps to keep hackers from gaining access to your login credentials or other sensitive information. Data that isn’t encrypted is at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals.

4. Choose a secure host.

Making the right decision when selecting a web hosting service is critical to the security of your website. High-quality website builders often include a free SSL with all plans. Make sure to pick a web host service that is aware of potential risks and is committed to keeping your website safe. In addition, your web host should back up your data to a distant server and make it simple to restore your data if your site is hacked. Select a web host that provides ongoing technical help whenever it is required.

If you need a more robust level of security, you’ll have to pay for an advanced SSL certificate. These are available at various rates and may be obtained through web hosting services or domain registrars. Unless you’re running a large online business or dealing with a lot of sensitive data, the free version of SSL should suffice.

5. Back up data.

Losing your data or, even worse, your customer’s data could cost you a considerable amount of time and big bucks! While your web host service should backup its own servers, you should still back up your files periodically. Essentially, a backup is a duplicate of your website’s data, including files, content, media and databases. Having a current version of your site saved ensures it can be restarted in the event of a disaster.

Make sure you’re backing up important information and not trash. On your website, every database, application and plugin represents an additional point of access for hackers. Files, databases and programs on your website that are no longer in use should be removed from the server where they reside. Besides, you don’t want to use up storage space with a bunch of old files.

6. Assess your weaknesses.

It is necessary to run online security scans regularly to identify and fix website and server vulnerabilities. Security scans for your website should be conducted routinely and after any changes or additions to your website’s components. When determining how secure your website is, there are various free tools available on the Internet. These tools can be helpful for a quick check, but they won’t catch all of your site’s security problems.

If you don’t have a technical background or the time to properly secure your website, establishing a partnership with a security agency might be a lifesaver. Engaging the services of an expert can offer in-depth analysis, explanation of the vulnerabilities on your website, and peace of mind. You’ve got a lot on your plate as a small business owner, and website security is no exception. When it comes to the more difficult tasks, hiring a professional may be more cost-effective than attempting them on your own.

You and your staff must constantly be attentive to securing your website, and these practical recommendations are only the beginning. Never stop looking for ways to improve the security of your website. Allowing hackers to triumph is not an option.

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