How to Make your Website More Secure
Website security involves establishing protective measures and protocols to protect your website from cyberattacks and threats. According to research conducted in 2019, website security breaches have increased by 11% from previously conducted assessments.
Now especially with the implementation of the POPI Act in South Africa, data protection laws and required measures have become more stringent than before increasing the need for website security.
Website security is no longer optional or a luxury, it is a necessity, especially for businesses involved in the handling of sensitive user information or that rely on online transactions for sales.
The simple solution is to make your website more secure.
Here are some simple ways to ensure that your website security is on par with the required standards.
1. Install an SSL Certificate
First and foremost, the easiest security upgrade you can do for your website is to install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. The SSL encrypts data, like the user login details that pass between a website and the visitor, to ensure that the user data remains protected through encryption.
In laymen’s terms, your website domain will change from starting with ‘HTTP’ to ‘HTTPS’ which means that the search engine recognises that an SSL certificate has been installed on the website and indicates this to users by means of the additional ‘s’ inserted in the URL.
Many search engines, like Google, penalize websites that do not have an SSL certificate installed and will display these websites lower in the search results than those which do have SSL certificates.
This is especially true for any e-commerce website.
For more information on SSL certificates, be sure to check out our article: ‘Https and Website Security’.
2. Sign Up to Cloudflare
Another way to increase your website security is by signing up for Cloudflare.
Cloudflare is one of the largest networks operating on the Internet and acts as a massive VPN (Virtual Private Network) with the focus of increasing both the performance and security of a website.
This is made possible by analysing and reviewing potential threats from visitor requests to stop any malicious traffic including cyberattacks, hackers and bots from stealing data or spamming a website. Cloudflare does this by reviewing:
- The visitor IP address,
- The resources requested,
- The frequency of the requests, and
- The firewall rules
In addition to this, Cloudflare was also one of the first companies to offer free SSL certificates upon signing up for Cloudflare services making this an added bonus to improved website security.
3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is a protocol that should be familiar to most people. It is used as a duo security measure to protect secure files or sensitive data from potential breaches.
When 2FA is enabled, two sources are required to confirm the identity of the user that is logging into a website and is most commonly encountered in the form of a password and a push notification which is sent to a mobile device (SMS) or to a listed email address for the user to fully authenticate themselves.
Once these two steps have been completed, the user will be granted access to the website or personal profile they are attempting to access. By engaging in 2FA, better protection is obtained for the user’s credentials and the resources they are attempting to access on the website.
4. Implement reCAPTCHA
ReCAPTCHA is a free service offered by Google that many websites make use of for additional protection and is mainly used to protect websites from spam and bot abuse. The CAPTCHA is a simple test used to tell humans and bots apart and is normally found in the form of word or picture puzzles.
These puzzles are simple for humans to solve but difficult for bots and other malicious software to surpass. Adding reCAPTCHA to your website is a simple way to stop automated software from accessing your website.
5. Use Stronger Passwords
This is a really simple yet highly effective website security technique that you can spend as little as 10 minutes changing to improve your website security.
Easy to crack passwords are one of the leading reasons for data breaches on websites with up to 40% of small businesses experiencing losses due to compromised passwords.
The strongest passwords contain both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters and are at least up to eight characters long. Review your website password to ensure that it meets the above criteria.
6. Make a Backup
It is important to perform regular backups of your website to ensure that you always have a safety net available should the worst happen. Creating backups means that should there be a security breach, you will still have all the essential data backed up on a database.
It is also important to keep in mind that the more complicated a website is, the more space will be needed for regular backups. Backups should be performed regularly and, if possible, should be automated to prevent human error from intervening in your backup schedule.
Website security is becoming increasingly important with more websites facing the potential for cyberattacks and potential customer data breaches.
While using more difficult-to-crack passwords and making regular backups of your website is important, it is more important to ensure that the correct security measures are installed on the website to make the site as secure as possible.
Get in touch with the web development team at Online Innovations to help resolve your website security matters. Call us on 041 365 4919, email [email protected] or visit www.onlineinnovations.com to find out more.