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23 August 2016

Five Ways To Secure Your Website & Online Data

Got a Website? Secure it right away!

If you own a website, you might have linked it with crucial data. Now, it becomes imperative to secure your website and online data from hackers and data thieves. Securing your data online is perhaps the best thing that you can do to your reputation and data.

The days of ‘electronic innocence’ are long gone and data is the prime target. Hackers and thieves are after your customers’ account details such as their customer card information and the onus is legally on you to protect this data from malicious hands and report breaches to authorities that occur.

One only needs to look at recent events such as Ashely Madison, JD Wetherspoon, and Sony to realize that hacking and cyber thefts are for real. In the Ashley Madison case, information of nearly 37m members was made public. Personal details of up to 657,000 customers of JD Wetherspoon were stolen in Dec 2015. In the case of Sony, hackers released sensitive corporate information that brought Sony to its knees and terrified Corporate America.

Five Ways to Secure Your Website & Online Data
Five Ways To Secure Your Website & Online Data

Hence, nowadays, many thieves not only want to steal your data but also want to destroy your records and even your reputation online. It may be just a sick message on your website homepage or even an outright determination to destroy you. Even small and medium-sized businesses are not spared. Between 2008 and 2010, at least 53 Seattle area SMB’s were subjected to cyber-attacks by a bandit and his cyber crook cronies and stole enough data that caused $ 3 million in damages to companies, employees, and customers. How to Protect Your Small Business Against a Cyber Attack)

In 2012, digital security firm Symantec along with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) conducted a nationwide study, which brought to light that nearly 83 percent of small businesses had no formal cyber-security plan while nearly 69 percent lacked even an informal security plan. At the same time, while nearly 71 percent of the small businesses were dependent on the internet for their daily operations, almost half this number believed that data hacks were isolated incidents and would not have an impact on their business. Actually, the hacking scenario is so serious that two-thirds of the victimized companies are forced out of business within six months after being attacked. Follow the steps below to stay safe:

1. Stay Updated Always

The best way to stay secured is to stay updated when it comes to these threats. You need to have at least a basic understanding of how you can protect your website against hacking and other threats. Follow the latest trends in hacking and website security and implement them on or your website. You can visit sites such as Stop The Hacker and The Hacker News to stay updated.

2. Strengthen the access control of your website

As a precautionary measure, you will need to strengthen the access control for your website. If the hacker has access control to your website then it can cause major trouble. You would not want your hacker to access the admin level of your website. Hence, you will need to enforce passwords and usernames that cannot be guessed. At the same time, you will need to limit the number of login attempts within a particular period. This applies for password resets as well because it is relatively easy for hackers to hack email accounts as well.

In order to protect your data, encryption is the best solution. You can activate the encryption on your Windows based machines or Macs using inbuilt tools called Bitlocker and FileVault. In addition, you can set the computers to automatically logout after 15 minutes without use so that you can effectively enforce this measure.

3. Carry out regular software updates to your system

Do not allow software vulnerabilities from preventing you to carry out software updates to your system. It is essential that you do not delay updating your website software since you might be exposed to attack in the intervening period. It is possible for hackers to scan hundreds of websites quickly in order to determine which website has a security flaw.

Credit card data is a very sensitive issue. In order to protect your credit card data and your reputation, one way to protect credit card data is to ensure that credit card processors comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements. Otherwise, you can be held liable for customer damages in case you are hacked.

4. Prevent access routes via computer users in your office

You will also need to ensure that the computer users in your office do not provide an access route to your servers for the hacker. Therefore, implement measures that will allow you to implement strong and secure passwords, change passwords frequently, and even scan devices, which are capable of being plugged into the network, for malware each time such devices are attached.

5. Install a Firewall and Security Shield

Install a Firewall and security shield. You can always install a web application firewall, which is the ultimate in website security. A Web Application Firewall (W.A.F.) helps you completely scan your website for various threats including malware, viruses, and other threats. You can then rest assured that Google would not penalize your website for malware related issues. You can easily install enterprise level website security from vendors such as incapsula and barracuda.

Final opinions

It can be a complete nightmare if your website has been hacked and criminals had the opportunity to break in and create havoc. Nevertheless, take advantage of the learning experience provided herein and secure your site before anything major happens. Other measures include securing your hardware physically so it does not get stolen or employing tracker programs to locate stolen laptops. Finally, educate your employees about the risks involved if your computer network becomes compromised. Hiring a security expert can also help you keep your computer systems protected.

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