Your website is no different than your car, home or business. If you leave a window or door unlocked, eventually someone will get in and wreak havoc. This can be terrifying, but there are several simple steps you can take to make your site more secure.
Update Your Site Software
Updates are about more than just adding new features or making the product work better. They also frequently include core software updates that close security holes, eliminate vulnerabilities, and strengthen weak points in the system. The faster you make them, the less chance there is of someone taking advantage of these issues.
Use Standard Programs and Systems
While it might be tempting to use custom software and programs, this isn’t always the best solution. Why? Standard software is:
• Tested by hackers more frequently
• More developers
• Weaknesses and vulnerabilities are found faster
• Fixes can be rolled out more quickly
If you need to have a custom program created, try to build it off a standard platform. Standard platforms have already been vetted for security issues and are typically maintained to prevent new attempts for hacking. When you build something yourself, you will have to do all of this yourself – leaving yourself vulnerable along the way.
Secure the Rest of Your Business
Not all hacking is high-tech. Some is just old-fashioned fraud and trickery! Hackers are now using personalized emails, phone calls, and letters to employees to gather company account information. Once they have this information, the hacker simply logs in and he can access and steal any information the account has access to. The solution?
- Educate your employees – everyone from the CEO to the receptionist to the IT department need to be reminded about the dangers of phishing scams. Yes, even the IT department needs to be reminded of this!
- Restrict access as much as possible. I know, it’s a difficult balance between security restrictions and actually getting work done. I wish I knew the secret to this balance. Just remember, no work will get done if a large security breach destroys your website.
- Change log in information frequently. And never use the same log in information for multiple accounts! Yes, this is annoying. No, this is not optional.
Of course, you can take many other steps to secure your website. Update your site software frequently, have a security expert examine your site, consider outsourcing help desk services and you may even want to invest in security monitoring services. Whatever you do, don’t take website security for granted. You simply can’t afford it.
Dan Coppen is a business technology writer. Follow him at http://twitter.com/dancoppen for more business technology tips.