How to Lock Down Your Web Security – General – Services – Software

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Today, cybersecurity remains one of the most serious economic challenges for businesses.

The digital revolution of COVID-19 has exacerbated the ways in which hackers can take advantage of a company’s web security holes. Often times, companies think their website is too small to be a target for cybercriminals, but that is definitely not the case.

A growing threat in online security is ransomware, a type of malware designed to block access to a computer system or file by encryption until a sum of money is paid, with a Ransomware attacks against Australian businesses increase by 60% Last year. Businesses of all sizes are at risk, for example large Australian retailer JBS Foods fell victim to ransomware attack recently which affected more than 1,000 companies worldwide. The ransom demanded up to $ 6.9 million, making it the largest global ransomware attack on record.

With more Australian consumers online than ever before, securing your website is vital to keeping your customers and sensitive information safe. Without a proactive security strategy, organizations risk the spread and rise of malware, attacks on other websites, networks and other IT infrastructures.

Here are eight simple steps to protect your website from malicious cyber attacks and keep your customers safe online:

Choose the right CMS system

If you are launching a new website, use a safe and reputable content management system (CMS) like WordPress which is the fastest growing CMS in the world. 41% of all sites worldwide and 83% of all Australian websites (using open source). In addition, according to a recent study by WP Engine, the majority of Australian businesses believe that WordPress is easy to use and generates economic benefits.

Encrypt your website

It is essential to activate a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate that encrypts all information sent to and from your website and helps to ensure the confidentiality of your customers’ data (for example, credit card details, postal addresses, purchase history). A popular, reliable, and free example of SSL is Rags.

Identifying whether a site is SSL certified or not is simple. An SSL certified site will start with an HTTPS in the URL, while a site that is not SSL certified will start with HTTP.

Install a security plugin

Installing a security plugin is a no-brainer when it comes to securing your website. A plugin is a third-party feature that personalizes your site to better meet your needs and serve your visitors. It can range from an ecommerce tool to a design integration feature – in fact, WordPress has 58,000 plugins.

For WordPress, install a plugin like Sucuri which minimizes security vulnerabilities in all matters related to website security, with a specialization in WordPress. If you’ve partnered with a tech company like WP Engine, be sure to check out the list of unauthorized plugins which are probably already installed as part of its main offer.

Keep your software up to date

While plugins help improve your site, an outdated plugin or other website component can actually make your site an easy target for intruders. In fact, when it comes to WordPress, more than half of reported security vulnerabilities (54%) are due to outdated plugins.

When you see an orange notification in your dashboard next to your plugins or themes, or receive an upgrade notification, be sure to click it. For WordPress users, adopt the Smart plugin manager helps you transparently and automatically manage all your WordPress plugins with machine learning and visual testing tools.

Enforce strong passwords and usernames

Disarming your website with a simple and straightforward password opens your site to brute force attacks, where hackers use trial and error to guess login information, encryption keys, or find a hidden web page.

Use a tool like Strong password generator to make sure your password is hard to crack – and if you’re on WordPress, install a plugin like Force strong passwords which forces other internal users to adopt a strong password.

Limit connection attempts

Limiting login attempts further prevents your site from brute force attacks. Limit administrator access to “must” users only and ensure that two-factor authentication (2FA) is in place.

For WordPress sites, install a plugin like JetPacks protect which minimizes the number of available connection attempts, or even better, see if your web host implements this feature for you.

Regularly back up your website

Back up your website at least once a week. If you have a WordPress site, those instructions will help you back up your data and automate backups and other resources.

Alternatively, there are several plugins such as Backup buddy that provide automatic backups on a daily basis. Backing up your website makes it easier to restore your site after an attack or failure on your site.

Choose the right technology partner

Asking the experts is never a bad thing. Partner with a trusted technology company for enterprise-grade security infrastructure, including automatic security updates, SOC II certification, real-time threat alerts, and high-performance, secure technology stacks. They will make sure that you meet the gold standard in security guidelines and principles to protect your site from the most common attacks.

The reality is, you can take control of your website’s security by taking an iterative approach, implementing the right precautions, and monitoring your site closely. But the most important thing is to get started.

So what’s your first step towards securing your website?

Ricky blacker, Senior Solutions Engineer, WP engine, ANZ.

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