Digital marketing blogs often like to compare business websites to old-fashioned main street shop fronts. It’s where customers get to peer in and see what you’ve got to offer. But the parallels extend much further than many bloggers would like to admit. In fact, just as regular physical shop fronts are a potential security risk for criminal break ins, virtual store fronts – that is, your website – is vulnerable to the digital equivalent.
To make the situation worse, unlike with physical property, many companies have a legal obligation to keep their data safe. In other words, if somebody else decides to steal your data, you could be the one in trouble.
So what can you do to eliminate the risk of a website security breach?
Hide your admin pages
Admin pages are a potential security risk because they allow hackers to get control over the tools which control your website. Sometimes, unless you specify otherwise, Google’s algorithms will index these pages, just like all the other pages on your site, which could leave you vulnerable. Use a robot.txt file to prevent these critical pages from being indexed.
Store uploaded files outside of the root directory
Uploaded files are a major potential source of viruses. Once files with viruses are uploaded, they can provide hackers with unlimited access to your site’s features and functionality. To prevent this, store all uploaded files in a separate directory from your root directory. You may need the help of your hosting company to do this, but it is well worth it.
Have security managed externally
Most small companies, especially startups, don’t have the resources to pay somebody to keep an eye on their website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s why many are using an SOC for cybersecurity – a security operations centers which monitor websites remotely and predict when an attack is likely. The benefit of these SOCs is that they not only prevent threats, but they also evaluate both failed and successful attacks with the purpose of making your website defenses stronger in the future.
Make your password policy more rigorous
Office computers are a major security risk for your website. A single office computer account with a weak password can compromise your entire system, providing hackers access to your website functionality. It’s a good idea, therefore, to make your password policy more rigorous. Things like increasing the frequency that people have to change their password and upping the number of letters a password must contain can help significantly.
Keep a software update schedule
Updates are a warning. They’re a sign that somebody else’s system has been hacked, and now everybody using that same system needs a fix if they want to escape a breach of their own. As such, updates are essential to maintaining the integrity of your website and should be implemented immediately. During the period between the hack, the fix and the installation of the update, criminals are able to scan thousands of websites for vulnerabilities, stealing their information along the way.