Website Security Checklist
With time and advancement in technology, most individual contractors and businesses are switching to remote operations. While it is convenient for the workforce and businesses, it has also enabled cybercriminals since they have more opportunities to seep into the business gaps and target the vulnerabilities of the system.
According to the research conducted by MasterCard, ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the reported cybercrime cases rose to 300% to the FBI. Similarly, such attacks have severe repercussions, such as stolen data, website downtime, equipment loss, loss of money, distrust of the customers. Most importantly, data breaches and insecure websites can be costly to organizations.
According to a 2021 report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach reached $4.24 million per incident in 2021 which is the highest in 17 years. For this reason, securing the website is essential for preventing system failures and data breaches. However, many businesses are not aware of the website security standards. This article offers a website security checklist for business owners to protect the website.
1 – Ensuring Safe Passwords and Changing Them Regularly
According to data insights, almost 80% of hacking activities stem from passwords. This means that your business can instantly boost security by changing the unique and strong login credentials. In addition to creating strong passwords/login credentials, it is equally important to update the passwords on a regular basis.
It is suggested to opt for a password generator to create highly secure passwords for the website. Moreover, there are various password managers available that not only create the passwords but also store them for when you forget the password. Secondly, set a reminder every fifteen days to change the password.
2 – Keep the Software Updated
One of the most important reasons for updating is to eliminate security flaws. Cybercriminals can become aware of the vulnerabilities in software, and they can exploit it to gain access to your network and end with a massive cyber breach.
Older versions of software can act as a gateway for the threat actors to gain access to your system. Companies who own the software, publish security patches and updates for their users to secure them from cyber-attacks. End users are advised to update their software and apply security patches to keep themselves secure from the discovered security issues and zero-day attacks.
3 – Install SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate is designed to protect the website by securing data transfers. To illustrate, if someone places the order online, it is crucial for you to secure personal information, including their contact details and financial information. For this purpose, purchasing and using an SSL certificate creates a trusting signal for the audience.
The SSL certificates are available in paid as well as free versions, so you can choose according to your security preferences and budget. Moreover, ensure that an SSL certificate is installed by following the instructions provided by the certificate providers and deploying accurate redirects for all the webpages.
4 – Automate the Backups
Backups are the ultimate companions for website security. When you have the website backup, you will be able to respond to website errors and issues more efficiently. Still, many businesses struggle to back up the website regularly. For this reason, you can automate the website backup (there are several tools that can help).
It is suggested to establish a proper schedule for creating backups and automating the backup. Some website platforms also have backup plugins, so you can invest in them.
5 – Limit the User Permissions
Providing every other person with the ability to update and access the website will create security-related vulnerabilities, particularly when they do not follow the security policies. Therefore, it is important to limit user permissions. If your website is built over a CMS, there are multiple permission levels available, including author, administrator, and editor, so you can set up the permissions accordingly.
On the other hand, if you do not have a CMS-based website, it is important to limit access to the login credentials of the web server or the database. To illustrate, if you are using a password manager, do not share its access with anyone.
6 – Update the Plugins And CMS
Most websites are customized with a variety of plugins since they help add features to the website quickly, and it is more common in CMS-based websites. However, most website owners forget to update the plugins, which not only results in an outdated website but also creates security gaps, creating room for data stealing, lost customer trust, and financial losses.
For this reason, it is important to update the CMS, plugins, add-ons, and other tools continuously to help operate the website effectively while keeping it secure.
7 – Secure the Checkouts
If you are running an online retail business and accept online payments, it is essential to secure the checkouts, which can be done with the help of an AVS and CVV. AVS is the address verification system, while CVV is the credit card verification value. These features help prevent fraudulent websites, so your business does not have to struggle with financial losses.
8 – Invest in Anti–Malware Software
Malware is a grave issue for website security. According to research, more than 350,000 malicious contents are discovered every day, and your website can be vulnerable to that. For this purpose, investing in anti-malware software is critical for an online business. The anti-malware software helps protect the website against malware attacks. There are free anti-malware options available as well, but paid software solutions provide full-range of coverage.
9 – Get the DDoS Mitigation Service
There are 106 DDoS attacks recorded every day, and if you do not opt for the DDoS mitigation service, you will end up becoming another number to this stat. Various web hosting providers offer built-in DDoS protection. It is a common myth that only large-scale businesses are the victim of DDoS attacks, but small websites/businesses should not underestimate DDoS protection. The best way to be DDoS resilient is to use Web Application Firewall service to prevent website from DDoS and other type of suspicious requests.
10 – Fight Against SQL Injection Attacks
SQL injection attacks are rare as compared to other security vulnerabilities, but they can do equal or more damage by attacking the database servers and compromising the customer data, including their financial and personal information. However, you will need to hire a full-time developer to fight against these attacks, and they can help by implementing the following options;
- Using safelist input validation to identify unauthorized access
- Create secure processes for users
- Developing parameterized queries for differentiating the data and code
Since business operations and transactions are gearing up for digital work, securing the website is extremely crucial. It is evident that having a website is vital for social proof, even if you do not get business from the website. So, follow the checklist mentioned in this article and secure your website properly.