Recently, businesses have been shifting their operations online, increasing the need for websites. The creation of websites brings many benefits. From generating revenue to expanding the customer base, websites are the way forward. However, for the effect to be felt, a lot ought to be done to ensure the website serves its purpose without any security risks.
The number of data compromises in the U.S. increased by over 62% from 2020 to 2022, with the average cost of a data breach reaching a record-high of USD$4.35 million in 2022. These statistics show the need to improve website security continuously.
This article will provide five essential practices to help you secure and protect your website from malicious attacks.
1. Perform Regular Security Audits
One of the best practices to enhance website security is to perform regular security audits. A security audit is an in-depth analysis of a system’s security state and posture. What an audit does is that it identifies any potential vulnerabilities in a system’s security, such as weak passwords, unauthorized user access, outdated security protocols, and other risks. It also checks for compliance with industry standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Consider hiring the IT company Complete Network or other reputable service providers to carry out the audit for you. Look for an IT firm with the necessary expertise and extensive industry experience.
How often should the audit be done? The answer is: as often as possible, as this will enable you to identify and address potential security risks promptly.
2. Implement SSL/TLS
Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) keeps communications between two computers (or websites) secure and private.
SSL/TLS is a form of encryption that ensures that any data sent between the two computers is encrypted, meaning no third party can read it. This is incredibly important for websites and online commerce, as it provides an assurance that sensitive data, such as credit card numbers and other personal information, is kept safe and secure.
In addition, SSL/TLS helps increase your website’s trust. It’s highly recommended that any website dealing with sensitive information implement SSL/TLS to make customers feel secure when submitting their information. This is especially important for e-commerce sites, as customers will feel more comfortable buying from a secure site.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Passwords are an integral part of website security. They provide a barrier between malicious actors and your data. Therefore, creating strong passwords that are difficult to guess or crack is crucial. According to IT consulting experts at Manawa, strong passwords should exceed eight characters and combine upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Also, passwords should not include personal information such as birthdates, addresses, or family names. This leaves the unwanted parties with no loophole to enter into your website. It’s also best to change the password regularly to avoid potential threats. If you find it a hassle to remember all the different passwords, use a password manager to store them securely.
4. Implement Two-Factor Authentication
Imagine what would happen if, by chance, someone was able to access a user’s account. This means they would have access to all the information stored in that account. Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent this from happening. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is another best practice for improving website security.
2FA adds a layer of security to an online account by requiring two different forms of authentication. This is often done by combining something the user knows (like a password) and something the user has (like a token or code sent via text message). This way, if someone were to discover a user’s password, they would still need to know the code sent to their phone to gain access.
Aside from improving website security, two-factor authentication helps to secure user accounts from being easily hacked. By requiring two forms of authentication, it’s much harder for an unwanted party to access an account, as they will need both the password and the code sent to the user’s phone.
Furthermore, two-factor authentication can help reduce the risk of identity fraud as the user’s identity is verified twice.
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5. Use A Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Another tip for improving website security is to use a web application firewall (WAF). A WAF is a software program that sits between a web application and its users, analyzing web traffic and blocking malicious requests. It’s designed to protect web applications from common web-based attacks, such as structured query language (SQL) injection, cross-site scripting, and malicious code execution.
The WAF can be either a hardware device or a software application running on the same server as the web application. Many different WAFs are available today, each with its own features and benefits. Therefore, when choosing the best WAF for your website, it’s essential to consider your specific needs.
Here are some hacks to help you make the best choice:
- Understand Your Site’s Requirements: Before selecting a WAF, you need to understand your website’s requirements and the threats it is likely to face.
- Research Available Options: Once you know your website’s needs, research the different WAFs available to find the one that best fits your requirements.
- Evaluate Features: Compare the features of the different WAFs to see which ones offer the best protection for your website.
Check Compatibility: Make sure the WAF you choose is compatible with your web application and other security tools you are using.
- Consider The Cost: Consider the cost of the WAF and any associated fees, such as installation and maintenance.
- Read Reviews: Check the reviews from other users to understand the WAF’s performance and customer service.
By following these tips, you can choose the best WAF for your website and improve your website security.
With websites playing a vital role in business operations, ensuring they’re secure is critical. Following the five practices outlined in this article can keep your website safe and protected from malicious attacks. These security measures can help protect your website from data breaches and other cyber-attacks and provide customers with peace of mind when submitting their personal information.