Websites are an essential part of running a business in the 21st century. Part of making sure your business is successful is keeping your website secure. Much like investing in a good security system for a brick and mortar shop, investing the time and resources into a security plan for your domain and website is absolutely crucial.
Key Website Security Terms to Know
Domain Name – A domain name or URL is the name a user would type into their URL bar to find your website. An example of a domain name is ebay.com or google.com. Without domain names, if somebody wanted to access a website, the user would have to remember and type in an IP address which would make it a lot harder to get where they want to go. Domain names can be any combination of names and numbers as long as it is not already registered. Most domain names registered in the United States end in .com, .net, .org, or .us.
What a Hacker Can Do: If somebody gets access to your domain name, they can reroute the traffic to wherever they’d like. (both email and website traffic) In addition, someone who has access to your domain can change the domain contacts and potentially steal your domain / brand name.
DNS Hosting – The mastermind behind allowing you to enter a domain name and get your destination without seeing an IP address is the DNS server. Once you purchase your domain, the company you registered it with may also host your IP address on their servers. DNS Hosting acts similar to an air traffic control function and will route emails to your email server and website traffic to your web server. Popular DNS Hosting services include DNS Made Easy and Cludflare. GoDaddy also provides DNS Hosting for any domain that you register with them.
What a Hacker Can Do: A hacker with control of the DNS host / services can access your email and shut down your website (or reroute your website traffic).
Web Hosting – Your web hosting provider will give you a part of a server or cloud to host your website. Larger organizations may own or lease a dedicated web server. Web servers allow web pages to be accessible to users across the Internet. This hosting service is what gives users the ability to physically see or access what you have for them (in terms of web pages and other media stored on the web server) to view and visit. The main types of hosting are shared, dedicated, VPS, and reseller.
What a Hacker Can Do: If a hacker has access to the web host or web server, then the hacker can shut down your site or modify the content of your website.
Effects of a Hack
If you find yourself hacked, there are a lot of ways it can negatively impact you and your business. Users may have a bad experience trying to access the website if it’s down. Or if they get on your website,they may see information that you may not want them to see. Ultimately, a hack can damage your website rankings since Google doesn’t want to display websites that have been hacked.
If you have sensitive information traveling through your website, such as customer or patient personal information or credit card information, it is essential that you have a strong security plan to minimize the chances of any of that information being made available to hackers. Should a hacker attack a website with sensitive information, the results could be disastrous for both you and your users. Certain websites and businesses have greater security requirements, such as healthcare organizations that accept the input of patient data on their website. This type of website function falls under HIPAA law and requires more robust security than a typical web hosting account or server.
Website Security Best Practices
Website security is a broad topic with many intricacies that can take years to learn properly. One of the challenges is that the field is constantly changing with new threats appearing on a regular basis. Overall, the main concept to keep in mind is that there are numerous opportunities for hackers to get into your website and wreak havoc.
Hackers have the ability to gain access into every level of your website from domain name, the DNS host, the web host, and more. Adding layers to your security plan will make it more difficult for hackers to do significant damage. Lots of companies, such as GoDaddy, have realized the importance of security and have implemented multi factor authentication as an added level of user security. It’s essential to check to see if you have it enabled and if you don’t, to do that right away.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
A great practice for your website is to not place all your eggs in one basket. We suggest allowing for different companies to handle different layers of your website / online security. For example, GoDaddy can be used to purchase a domain and CloudFlare can host your DNS. This way you can rest assured that if something happens at GoDaddy, your DNS is safe. Below are some general tips to ensure the security of your website
- Secure your site in layers. Make sure each element has a separate password and use different hosting companies to each element
- Invest in an SSL Certificate
- Hire a professional. If website security is a mystery to you, it’s best to hire a professional who can dedicate the time to making your website as secure as possible
- Log into your accounts and monitor them frequently. Make sure you are accepting new security terms, updating software and noting any unauthorized changes to your account.
- Educate yourself and your employees on cyber security and email phishing scams.
- Consider subscribing to a website security service / firewall, such as Sucuri (especially if you have a WordPress website)
- Make sure your passwords are strong. This can be one of the simplest and most overlooked ways to protect your website.
Online Password Tips
Having a strong password is essential for any account that you have that may hold sensitive information or anything that you want to retain the integrity of. Many people use simple and easy to remember passwords that can be susceptible to hacker attacks such as password spraying or brute force. Here are some ways to make a strong password:
- Use at least 16 characters whenever possible
- To make passwords easier to remember, use sentences or phrases
- Include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters
- Use a different password for different accounts
- Never use personal information in your password
- Do not use common or sequential phrases such as “Password” or “Pass1234”
Websults | SEO Agency Located in Clearwater, FL
The team at Websults can help in deciding which method would work best for your needs and would be happy to set up the integration for you! As an experienced web development, website hosting, and eCommerce agency, Websults will carefully listen to your needs, ask questions, and work hard to give you a competitive advantage in your industry. Contact Websults for a free consultation.