It’s almost impossible–and probably not wise–to run a business without a web presence. From blogs to full-fledged e-commerce sites, having a website is an important tool for the way the world does business.
While websites offer plenty of opportunity to gain new customers and foster existing relationships, there’s one big problem lurking in the background at all times: security. There are plenty of ways the site can be compromised, especially with hacking on the rise. But before you panic and run to shut your site down, take a moment to brush up on some of the simple ways to keep your site safe:
Use a Reliable Host
Don’t go with a lesser known host just because they have an amazing deal. That deal may cost you more money in the long run if the option isn’t secure and reliable. Research hosts that have good standing for customer service and the ability to quickly address any potential problems that arise. Ask around and look online for information on the best options for your needs. Be sure to consider uptime and customer service reputation.
Be Password Savvy
Simple passwords are one of the biggest safety issues. Avoid common words or number combinations (1234, password, etc.) and attempt to develop a combo of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and characters (if your site allows). Lengthy passwords of approximately 14 characters or more are also ideal. Change your passwords every few months, especially if there’s risk of compromise. In addition, don’t use the same password for every site and login you have! If it’s stolen, you may be in a lot of trouble.
Find Reliable Third-Party Apps and Software
Apps and plugins are fantastic ways to make your life easier. They often add appealing and timesaving features to your site. Unfortunately they can also put it at risk. When downloading an app or plug-in, make sure it comes from a reliable developer and stay on top of the updates, which often help fix vulnerabilities for hackers.
Clean It Up
Help keep your computer free of malware and viruses by regularly running anti-virus software and cleaning out any suspicious files.
Keep It Positive
Make sure your online reputation is on the sunny side. This not only helps keep your website in good standing, but it also helps you avoid hacker threats. Sometimes a hacker strikes simply out of annoyance or payback for a less-than-positive action you’ve taken.
Use a Safe Connection
FTP username and passwords can be a source of problems, allowing hackers to access the site if they’re compromised. If you’re using an FTP connection, consider switching to a safer option like an SFTP for added protection.
Create a VPS
If you’re using a shared server hosting package, consider switching to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for added security. VPS options are on the rise for small businesses because of their ability to create firewalls and install further protection. These options are typically not offered through standard hosting packages. Private server development is now an affordable option, and many companies like Rackspace specialize in assisting small businesses with private server and cloud set-up.
Online security doesn’t have to be a huge fear. Some research will save you time, money, and plenty of sleep at night!