My Side of the Story
After launching my website in early 2019, Attackers infiltrated my business website. They got away with sensitive information that belonged to my clients. By the time I noticed the breach, it was too late. I was helpless. I did not know what to do.
I watched as Google took my website down and the ghost of heavy legal penalties stared right into my face. What else was I to do but shut down my business? The consequences were so grave.
Lessons Learnt: The Need for Security Management Strategies
My story is a drop in the ocean of the extent hackers can go and the cost of data breaches. If you are a cybersecurity enthusiast, you might have heard of the stories of data breaches that target prominent websites ranging from government websites to fortune 500 companies’ websites.
The Yahoo data breach of 2017, the Aadhaar data breach that impacted 1.1 million people, and the First American Financial Corp. data breach of 2019 that impacted 885 million users are some examples of data breaches that have targeted large companies.
These examples should act as revelations to you and your business. They should tell you that your business is not immune to cyber attackers. It is not a question of when attackers will visit. However, they should find you prepared when they come knocking. This article has provided tips on how to improve website security.
Cybersecurity Tips and Strategies for your Business Website
Ever since I fell victim to a data breach, I embarked on a mission to understand how website owners can reinforce their security walls.
Whereas many security management strategies will work for your business, my search for the most reliable measures has driven me to a 7-point website security checklist that will answer of ‘how to improve website security’. The seven are explained below.
1. Buy an SSL Certificate and Install it on Your Website
Cybersecurity is an investment, and all investments require time, energy, and resources. Part of your website security investment should go into purchasing encryption infrastructure. You need an SSL certificate to secure your website against man-in-the-middle attacks and assure your users that your website is secure.
In addition, by investment, I do not mean spending an arm and a leg. You do not have to worry about the SSL certificate cost. If you get time to peruse through SSL certificate resellers, you will notice a plethora of low-cost or cheap SSL certificates that go for as low as 10 dollars.
Buying, installing, and configuring SSL certificates will also be easy. Even, you can renew SSL at a discounted price and without any hassle.
However, how will an SSL certificate help to enhance my website security? Assume your business website collects sensitive user data from customers. Such data might include credit card details and personal information.
Hackers can best access such sensitive data by intercepting it as it moves between users’ web browsers and your business’s web servers. Hackers can easily get hold of it, read it, and decipher it if such data is transferred in its original form (in plain text).
SSL certificates convert plain text data into cipher text. One will need a decryption key to read such data. Otherwise, they would be met with undecipherable gibberish.
2. Provide Employee Cybersecurity Training and Awareness
Social engineering attacks such as smishing, spear-phishing, and phishing attacks are prevalent. Such attacks usually leverage employee ignorance and negligence to get past business security walls.
Moreover, insider threats are hitting businesses and hitting hard. According to the 2022 Cost of Insider Threats Reports by Ponemon Institute, Insider threats have increased by 44%.
The best way to avoid social engineering attacks and insider threats is by having a robust cybersecurity training and awareness program. The program should target all stakeholders and be conducted from time to time.
The program should be used to equip all business stakeholders with the knowledge and skills to identify and prevent such attacks. It should also be used to warn employees with ill motives against perpetrating insider threats. A good cybersecurity training program can create a cybersecurity culture and prevent cyberattacks targeting your business.
3. Implement Strong User Authentication Policies
The issue of strong and unique passwords can never be reiterated enough. All accounts on your website and your servers should be secured with robust and unique passwords. Weak passwords give your users an easy time to bypass. It would be best to have policies that require all stakeholders only to use passwords with specific characteristics.
Because passwords can be compromised, they can never be enough. As a best practice, ensure you strengthen your authentication processes by adding an extra authentication layer.
The two-factor authentication, where users are required to use passwords and extra factors such as one-time passwords, secret codes/words, or biometric authentication features, are highly recommended.
4. Frequent Updates to Your Software and Operating Systems
Your website needs an operating system and pieces of software to function correctly. The software and operating system could give attackers an attack surface they use to infiltrate your website.
Software is highly vulnerable to attacks, especially when they are outdated. Developers and vendors burn midnight oils to develop upgraded software versions to address the possible security vulnerabilities in old software versions. To be safe, ensure you upgrade the operating system and software once new versions are available.
5. Use A Firewall Protection
I already mentioned earlier that website security is an investment. You must invest in reliable firewalls to protect your business website from security vulnerabilities. Firewalls monitor incoming and outgoing traffic to ensure it is safe from security threats.
6. Install Antimalware Software
Another asset you must buy for your business website is antimalware software. Malware infections such as viruses, Trojans, and ransomware are rampant these days.
An antivirus will scan through your business website to detect and eliminate any malware threats. Briefly, if you want to safeguard your servers and entire business website from malware, you must buy antimalware software.
7. Conduct Timely Data Backups
Finally, you must have a contingent plan. Despite all the website security strategies explained herein, you are still not free from attacks. This is why you must invest in a reliable backup plan. You should back up your business data in a secondary storage location like the cloud. In case of a data breach or data loss, you will run to your backup files for retrieval.
Having a business website is a critical path that could propel your business to successful heights. However, the game should not stop at having a website. You need a secure website capable of withstanding attack forces directed at it.
This article has explained some of the most reliable and working security strategies to protect your business website against cybersecurity threats.