Cyberattacks are on the rise and are one of the fastest growing threats to your small business. While most people think cyber criminals primarily target large organizations, nearly half of all cyberattacks happen to small businesses. If you're not making cyber security a priority, you may as well hand over the keys to your business.
Although you may think that your small business website is not worth being hacked, you need to consider the damage that a cyberattack can do to your reputation. Many website security breaches happen solely for the purpose of using your server as an email relay for spam. While this type of security breach has nothing to do with stealing your data or defacing your website, it can be just as detrimental to your business.
To protect your business from malicious criminals, security needs to be a critical part of the website design process. Here are several tips to help you create a more secure website design to ward off cyber theft:
1. Use an HTTPS website.
Have you noticed that more websites now begin with an HTTPS versus the traditional HTTP? HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and encrypts all communication between the browser and your website. Web browsers like Internet Explorer and Chrome make it easy to determine an HTTPS connection by displaying a padlock icon in the address bar.
Having an HTTPS website will offer your business some significant benefits, including giving your customers the peace of mind that their sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) is encrypted and can't be intercepted by hackers. An HTTPS website will also demonstrate to your customers that your business is committed to security, which will help to build trust and credibility.
2. Keep your security software up to date.
While it may seem like a no-brainer, keeping your security software up to date is critical to minimizing your threat of cyber theft. Be sure to use the latest version of security software for your server operating system and any other type of software that is running on your website, such as a CMS.
3. Don't offer too much information with error messages.
As a best practice, only offer minimal errors to users as more detailed information can make cyberattacks far easier. Instead, keep the detailed errors in your server logs.
4. Enforce password requirements.
You need to use strong passwords to protect your server and website administration area. Make passwords case sensitive and at least eight characters in length with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. As a best practice, change passwords periodically to through hackers off your trail.
5. Prevent direct access to files uploaded to your website.
Allowing users to upload files to your website creates significant risk as the files could contain a script that opens up your website for exposure. In an ideal world, you'll want to prevent direct access to files uploaded to your website. In this scenario, files are stored in a folder outside of the webroot, and you can fetch these files on your own and deliver them to the browser.
With the number of cyberattacks increasing by the day, cyber security needs to be a priority for your business. Organizations that take cyber security into consideration during the website design process will benefit from having a lot of inbuilt website security features. Use the best practices outlined above to help protect your business from malicious criminals and minimize the risk of cyberattacks.