Modern information security is a huge part of running a business, and as you're likely aware, maintaining a secure website can be a fairly involved process.
That said, there are some straightforward steps you can take to make sure you're keeping hackers at bay, minimizing risk, and generally protecting your digital assets. The following are five such steps we'd recommend.
1. Backup Everything
Making sure you have a good backup of your website data is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for long-term security. Simply put, you need to have everything important saved somewhere -- and preferably in multiple places, in case one backup is corrupted for whatever reason. As we noted in an article about data backup, making sure you have a copy of everything is part of an overall risk management strategy. It may not be a part of your active security against cyberattacks or digital corruption, but it preempts these problems with necessary preparation.
We'd also note that this isn't something you can set up and then forget about. Instead, make sure you maintain your systems and conduct backups regularly so that nothing falls between the cracks.
2. Identify & Check Your Weak Points
This is easier said than done, but as part of an ongoing security effort, you should identify your potential weak points, insofar as you can recognize them, and continually check that they're not allowing security breaches. There could be innumerable examples of what these potential weak points are, but there are a few examples that will get you thinking on the right track. Are you frequently accessing or editing your site on public WiFi? If so, you may want to take steps to make sure your connection is secure. Do you have email addresses attached to the site? You'll want to take steps to recognize and reject spam, phishing messages, etc. Even a new employee can be a weak point for digital security, as everyone working for your site needs to be aware of any security protocols or expected diligence.
Again, there could be many more examples. But identifying specific weak points, rather than taking a random approach, can help you to head off potential threats.
3. Expand Your Brand Strategically
Marketing and outreach are necessary if you want your online business to grow. And there's an argument to be made for doing as much of it as you can. At the same time, however, completely random online outreach means that you're not really sure who you're putting your site in front of. It's unlikely, but you never know when you may come across a malicious competitor or simply a less-than-friendly online community. It's for that reason that more strategic brand expansion can actually benefit you from a security standpoint.
The strategies put forth by Ayima Kickstart speak to how you can go about more strategic digital outreach, focusing on building visibility through your site through the most relevant of channels. Part of a good SEO and marketing initiative is making sure that you're optimizing your own site's content to reach a target audience and generate backlinks from other, relevant web platforms. This doesn't mean you have complete control over who uses your site, but it does keep you in your desired lane, so to speak -- which can be both good for business and, potentially, more secure.
4. Ask For Help
If you know that IT and information security aren't your strong suit, or your website is simply growing enough that you know you'll need support beyond your own know-how, the best thing you can do for your digital security is to ask for help! It's not always easy to find good help in this field, simply because IT security experts are in higher and higher demand these days. However, BizTech has provided a handy guide for how to attract qualified professionals if you decide you need someone like this on staff (or even contracted to revamp your security as a one-time thing). The specific tips range from making the work environment more appealing for cybersecurity professionals, to meeting them on their own turf via social media outreach. But the main point here is that you'll want to find someone who can understand your system and improve upon your security at the highest level.
5. Keep Logins Secure
As a more practical matter, using passwords and SSL security measures can help make it harder for hackers to breach your system. Wherever you can -- for company emails, site editing access, etc. -- create unique, complex passwords with all the usual variations (capital and lowercase letters, symbols, numbers, and a high number of characters). Don't write your passwords down where someone can see them or keep them on a computer where they can conceivably be seen by prying digital eyes. And finally, change your passwords regularly. At the same time, use SSL to encrypt and send sensitive data when necessary.
These final points are fairly common, hands-on digital security practices, but they can still be vital in your everyday management of your site.
Article written by Macy Camp for the sole use of Sagiss, LLC