Why Web Security is One of The Most Important Aspects of Your Website
Web security has never been as important as it is today. With so many people buying and selling online, as well as providing a lot of personal information to do these things, having a website that people can trust is one of the most important things you can do. In today’s world, the internet makes it easy for us to do a lot of things online. Unfortunately, this influx of technological advances gives cyber hackers and other bad guys even more opportunities to steal.
Hacking has happened to such huge conglomerates as Target, Amazon, Yahoo, CNN, and eBay. Hackers can easily penetrate your business website and retrieve personal and proprietary company information and use it to wreak all sorts of havoc on your personal and professional life. If you use a computer for any reason—and who doesn’t—you need to keep your information safe from the evil ways of hackers. But how? It seems that hackers can get in almost anywhere they set their minds to, but you don’t want to let your website be one of those places. Otherwise, your customers will lose trust in your business and that’s not something you want.
Don’t despair; here are three ways to keep your business website safe from hackers:
1. Keep your website’s software up to date
While it may be annoying to wait for an update on your software to complete, it’s essential that you do this to keep your site safe from hackers. Often an update becomes necessary because the developers of the software have discovered security holes. New versions of the software will close these holes, keeping you safer from hackers trying to gain access to your information.
2. Use difficult passwords
The reasoning behind this is very simple. Longer codes, with a wider variety of characters, and upper and lower case letters, is harder to crack, even for an attack program. It’s not impossible, but it will take hacking programs much longer to figure out longer and more complicated passwords. In addition, do not use the same password for all of the sites you use with personal information. Once a hacker gets your credit card number, do you want him or her to have your banking information, too?
3. Get and use a virus scanner for your website
Even if you don’t open suspicious links or those that come from someone you don’t know, you aren’t completely protected from viruses. Unfortunately, even visiting sites you trust can get you a virus, if that site has malware, or sends you an infected link. To keep your site safe from viruses, you need to employ a virus scanner to complement your own common sense.
There are several other measures you can take to protect your website from hackers, including ensuring that documents you upload are not corrupted, taking care that you only give administrative login to those you trust, and backing up your site frequently.
Another measure that will definitely help in your overall web security is setting up an SSL. Do you want to amp up your online success? Then you need Secure Sockets Locker (SSL) on your website. Why? Because search engines like Google are making it near impossible to go on conducting business as usual without one. And with good reason!
What is SSL?
Here’s where SSL comes in. What is it? This handy piece of technology prevents private data from being seen by hackers online. The connection between browsers and servers becomes encrypted, creating a safe web experience. It’s the tech behind Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), rather than plain HTTP (without the S). Before, HTTP sites allowed cyber thieves to easily intercept and read private information, like passwords. Now, if a website has an SSL certificate backing its HTTPS, they can’t.
Google and other search engines emphasize the need for websites to switch to HTTPS. In fact, websites that don’t might see their rankings drop on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Not only that, but businesses might see their bottom line give out in other ways by not keeping up. Here are reasons why you should have SSL on your website:
SSL is important for SEO
In August 2014, Google made the announcement:
We’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now, it’s only a very lightweight Signal…while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.
That means that SSL should be a top priority when it comes to your SEO strategy and web security. Having it might give you that extra boost you need to win more top funnel users.
You’ll be shamed by search engines
In January 2017, Google announced that it would mark any HTTP websites that collect passwords and credit card numbers as non-secure. It’s part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP websites non-secure. What does that mean for your business? If you don’t have SSL, site visitors will be immediately notified that your website isn’t safe via the toolbar. What’s stopping them from going to one of your safer competitors? Over time, users will be conditioned to know which sites are secure and which ones aren’t through these visual cues. Say goodbye to your professional and credible image!
Not just anyone can get an SSL certificate. Websites have to go through proper authentication channels to obtain one. Hackers love to create imposter websites, tricking people into false security. With SSL, users know the trustworthiness of your website. After all, your site will get a nice green “Secure” message with a padlock. Visitors will feel safe knowing their data can’t be seen by the bad guys.
With search engines strongly advocating for SSL, users will come to expect it. They want to be as protected as possible while online. So if you want your business to do well, you need to maintain the safety of your users. Web security is now a best practice. You don’t want anyone getting client information like names, numbers, logins, and browsing history. Otherwise, you’ll have more to lose than just search rankings!
Web security is not only important for the back-end technical side of your site. When it comes to web design, the security of your site could be left up in the air so it’s important to make sure you’re investing in the safest and best web design. Time is money, and that has never been truer than in today’s fast-paced business environment. As a businessperson, you’re likely looking to save money wherever you can, and website design is no different.
However, you need to be careful not to let the desire to save a few dollars lead you to skimp on web design and its associated web security, SEO, and content-related features. Opting to save a few bucks now could leave your website more vulnerable and neglected down the road. Here’s how skimping on web design could leave your site vulnerable:
Why you should be worried about skimping
Taking the do-it-yourself approach, or looking for the lowest priced vendor to do the work on your website, might be attractive short-term. However, going either of those routes will leave you open to security breaches later on.
If your company has any important assets or if anything about your firm puts you in the public eye, it is likely that someone will test the security of your website. Even if your site doesn’t appear to be an attractive target, hackers could still use your website as a member of a botnet, as a relay for spam email, or an illicit file server. By making the security of your site design a priority, you’ll avoid issues like this later down the line.
The bad guys are stalking you
Always keep in mind that no matter the size of your company, or what you offer to your customers, someone out there is stalking you and your website. If you take the do-it-yourself approach, we guarantee you that you’re going to miss at least a few security considerations when you’re designing your site. Even tiny security holes can add up to a big hole for the bad guys to walk through.
Meanwhile, going the cheapest provider route brings with it an entirely different set of risks. Many web design firms that offer a “low price” outsource their design and coding tasks to developers in foreign countries where labor is cheap. While this will save you money upfront, it could cost you dearly later. Outsourcing your web development to subcontractors could leave you open to code with backdoors included in the code, whether it’s on purpose or simply due to poor website design.
The top consideration while designing any website should be web security. By using a first-rate web design and development firm, you can rest assured that your website will be well-protected against threats, exploits, and attacks.
A top-notch web development firm will never approach security as a secondary task, but will instead use a secure design checklist that will ensure your website is developed “security first,” from the ground up. Plus, you’ll appreciate a development team that will respond quickly to any newly discovered security holes.
One size doesn’t fit all
If you attempt to design your website on your own or hand it over to a low-price leader designer/developer, you may end up using a one-size-fits-all content management system, such as WordPress, Drupal, or other readymade website systems.
While WordPress and its competitors are an easy way to set up a website, and are highly recommended for a personal website or blog, they each have their own individual security issues, usage problems, and design issues.
Although such content management systems are customizable, you run the risk of your website looking like any of thousands of other sites. Also, when security flaws are discovered in systems like WordPress, that means your website will be vulnerable to those same security holes until they’re plugged by WordPress or third-party plugin vendors.
Using a professional web design team allows you the flexibility to design and build your website in a completely customized manner. You can work with a design team to include precisely the features you’re looking to incorporate, working hand-in-hand with the designers and developers every step of the way.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is here to stay and is an essential factor when you’re looking to keep your company’s services out in the public eye. A professional web design team will be able to develop your website with SEO in mind from the very first day.
While there are SEO tools available for use by companies who wish to take a stab at do-it-yourself SEO optimization, none of them can equal the value of a well-informed SEO optimization team like that found at many web design and development firms.
Designing your website with SEO in mind means your site will be among the top results for search terms on Bing, Google, YouTube, and other website and video search tools.
Content, content, content
While web security and SEO optimization are extremely important considerations when designing a website, content is king. You can have the most beautiful, optimized and secure website on the internet and if you don’t have engaging content, you’ll miss out on attracting traffic to your site.
Even if you already have marketing content for your website, it could be outdated and may not accurately describe your company’s current offerings. Fresh content sends the message that you are an expert in your field, and offer the best level of services in your industry.
As we’ve seen, selecting a reliable firm to do your website design and development is an essential part of creating your company’s online presence. Attempting to cut corners by trying to create a site on your own, or by outsourcing it to the lowest priced vendor, can be a costly mistake when it comes to web security. Always be sure to consider all factors when deciding on the route you’ll take to develop your website.
When it comes to building your website, working on the back-end technical support and designing something beautiful and user-friendly, web security should be your top priority. If you have any questions about web security or would like to talk to one of our pros, contact us today.