Every website can be hacked – and cybercriminals are constantly working on strategies to steal data that reaps the rewards. However, it’s not all doom and gloom for everyday businesses with online assets. You can secure your site enough to prevent opportunists from accessing it and your valuable data.
HTTPS and SSL/TSL
The starting point is making sure your site is using HTTPS.
The difference between HTTP and HTTPS may seem like one letter, yet it is a lot more, and there are old and newer protocol versions to consider.
HTTPS is a method of encrypting information that is sent between the browser and a web server.
Therefore, HTTPS is much more secure because it protects all of your site visitors from so-called man-in-the-middle attacks. These attacks refer to scenarios where a hacker steals information sent to a website, for example, login details or credit card information.
HTTPS was once only the norm for websites with sensitive data. However, it is becoming more and more commonplace. Switching may seem like a lot of effort, but the best and fastest way to migrate a WordPress website to HTTPS is to use a provider like Cloudflare.
Some knock-on benefits are associated with switching to HTTPS and staying up to date with the latest recommendations, including higher Google rankings. See here for Google’s HTTPS recommendations.
Keen to know the difference between HTTPS, SSL/TSL? See this illustration.
Ensure all of your software is kept up-to-date. Don’t assume you know why a provider has released an update and put it off. All your devices and systems will need updates applied regularly. Why? Well, some updates will include new features, however, remember those opportunistic cybercriminals? They’re hard at work looking for vulnerabilities to exploit to get to customer data. Software updates apply security patches.
If you use a popular CMS provider like Joomla or WordPress, you will benefit from regular updates, making a massive difference. Ditch any plugin or app that is not regularly maintained by its provider for another secure option.
Malware does not only infect computers, but it can infect websites too.
Such infections can result in websites loading slowly, displaying unwanted adverts, and even infecting your visitors’ devices. This is the last thing you want when you are trying to build loyalty and trust. This is why you need to monitor your websites regularly for malware and other security issues. Aside from this, you need to ensure your site is updated and patched regularly.
Use a provider like AVG to protect you when you’re online and scan your documents and emails for viruses.
When users sign up to access your website, make sure they use a strong password. This is a password that continues a certain number of characters, a combination of lower and upper case letters, and at least one number and symbol.
How many characters should a strong password have?
Google says to make sure your password is at least 12 characters and mix it up, so you have symbols, upper and lower case letters and numbers.
A strong password is one of the best preventions to opportunistic attacks.
Always use multi-factor authentication, and if you allow customers or users to access your system, they too must use MFA.
Two-factor authentication is a password and something else. In many cases, it means inputting a code that has been sent to the user’s phone or email.
Another option is to get them to enter a PIN or answer a security question. Again, you may avoid this because it seems like an extra bit of hassle for the user. However, they would rather spend an extra second getting into their account than being hacked, that’s for sure. Internet users today are clued up, and they know how essential layers of security are.
Make sure your website has a professional design. While the design of your website is not going to impact security or secure your data, it can make your customers feel more secure, and that is what this article is all about. If you have a website that appears amateurish and uses stock photography and outdated features, anyone who visits it will be sceptical. Is your business legitimate? Even if it is, you’re going to make users feel sceptical. A professional, sleek and sophisticated website is a must.
Payment – Use a secure gateway
Another way to reassure your customers is to provide them with some payment options with reputable third party payment gateways. Not everyone wants to enter their credit or debit card details, irrespective of how safe and secure your site appears.
After all, it seems that a day does not go by without news of a data breach where credit card data is stolen. Allow customers to pay via PayPal and other e-wallets. A lot of people feel much more secure with newer digital payments solutions.
Last but not least, showing that other people trust you can go a very long way. This is why you should feature customer testimonials on your website.
Nevertheless, avoid making up your own feedback, and don’t merely type comments yourself onto the website. You need to evoke trust, and the best way to do this is by using an independent review platform. This shows that you have had no hand in the rating you have received or the reviews that have been written. Video testimonials can also work very well.
So there you have it: some different ways to secure your website and assure users that your website is safe and your business is legitimate. If you follow the advice mentioned above, you will establish your business as a reputable and trustworthy one, which can go a very long way.
Keen to read about eCommerce challenges for newcomers? Click here.