Small business websites are some of the most vulnerable to hackers because those companies don’t have the resources to maintain a dedication security team. However, with a little attention to detail as you’re setting up and managing your site, you can eliminate most
of the major security holes that are common to small business websites. This is important for protecting company and customer data, as well as maintaining your reputation.
1. Secure Your Code: Sloppy coding leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of attacks, so it’s critical to secure the code on your website. One of the types of hacks that small businesses may see comes when hackers add malicious code to your website through security loopholes. Therefore, you need to ensure that the code you use is tight, and if you don’t know how to create tight coding, it’s time to hire someone who does.
2. Use TLS or SSL to Encrypt Pages: Encryption is key whenever users are entering information on your website, so you should definitely at least be using SSL to encrypt all pages of your site that would include sensitive information. TLS is newer and even more secure and would be a better choice if you can get it on your site. Ensure that the login page is encrypted, not just the pages following it.
3. Use Secure Networks and Workstations: Anytime you connect administratively to update your website, you need to be doing so through a secure workstation and a secure network, which means the Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop is out. It’s also critical that your host secures their network so the website is safe on that end. Lots of cloud providers, like Rackspace hosting, are PCI-compliant and affordable for small businesses. In addition, you need to set up firewalls and use sophisticated virus protection on the computers you use to connect administratively to ensure that they don’t have keystroke loggers or other malicious software.
4. Maintain Secure Login Credentials: If your administrator password to get into the back-end of your business website is password, you have a problem. Create secure passwords for yourself and all other administrators. Your password should not be a word found in a dictionary, and it should contain a combination of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. In addition, each administrator should have his own login credentials to reduce security risk.
5. Use Server-Side Data Validation: Although this one may sound basic if you know a lot about websites, it’s important to mention. You can’t rely just on client-side data validation on forms. Set up your site to take advantage of server-side data validation so hackers would need access to the server to get through that layer of security.
Although these aren’t guaranteed to protect you against the most sophisticated hackers, they will help make your website more secure and less vulnerable to automatic attacks. Once you have set up a secure website, you need to stay on top of security, checking it regularly for problems, changing passwords and adding new security features as they become available. With these tips, you can reduce your chances of being hacked.