Hacker sitting at his computer. Is your website secure?

What Is Website Security?-A Beginner’s Guide

What is website security? With many companies having to shift their focus to online business, many might not be aware of the dangers lurking in the shadows. Check out this easy beginner’s guide to help you navigate the path to a more secure website.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

As a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, website traffic has increased substantially, with many companies branching into the virtual world for the first time. Unfortunately, cyberattacks have increased as well. Check out these cybercrime statistics.

Cybercrime Stats:

  • 80% of hacking breaches involve brute force or stolen credentials.
  • Cloud-based attacks rose 630% between January and April in 2020.
  • There is one cyberattack every 39 seconds.
  • FBI estimates that cybercrime cost businesses 3.5 billion in 2019. 
  • At least 60% of companies that experience cyberattacks fail within six months.

What Is Website Security?

A Beginner’s Guide

Just as you would have locks on the door and possibly an alarm on a brick-and-mortar business, you need to have a “security system” for your website as well. This can take many different forms depending on the type of site you are operating. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Firewall
  • Malware protection
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Captcha
  • Anti-spoofing
  • IP blocking
  • Block limiters
  • Anti-spam

As you can see, there are many working parts to website security. You may need some but not others. By following the steps below, you should determine exactly what is best for your online business.

Website Analysis

How Can I Check the Security of My Site?

The first step is to complete a website security analysis to identify any vulnerabilities. Do you know what type of security you are using or should be using based on your website?

Perhaps you have left that up to your site’s host. This may seem to be the easiest solution. Remember though, you are the site owner and thereby the liable party if there is a data breach.

So be sure that you have at least a basic knowledge of what your security looks like. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and cross reference the answers. If you are still unsure, a second opinion is in order.

Tip: Usernames and Passwords

One of the most straightforward steps you can take is having a solid username and password. If your username is “admin” and your password is “password”, you are headed for trouble. Brute force attacks prey on easy usernames and passwords.

They use a trial-and-error method until they gain access. Once access is gained, they can create problems like planting malware to corrupt your site, data breaches, and using your site as a front to engage in illegal activities.

By having strong usernames and passwords as part of your company’s policy, you can avoid this headache. I also suggest changing your passwords regularly and never using the same password twice.

How Much Website Security Do I Need?

How much security do you need? Are we talking padlock or Fort Knox? How much you need depends directly on the type of site you operate. For instance, a blog site would not need as much security as an e-commerce site. Why?

It all comes down to information and traffic. If your site is storing sensitive customer information like addresses and credit card numbers and has several thousand hits a day, you will need a higher security level than a site that is purely an informational or sharing site that may see hundreds of daily hits.

This is not to say that you can get away with no security. Every website, regardless of size, needs some level of security.

Options to Implement Better Website Security Practices

Most large companies have the ability to staff in-house security specialists. The whole department is charged with one task: keep the company’s site and data safe.

But what if you are a small to medium-sized business? You have two options. Roll up your sleeves and dig in. Educate yourself on what is available and institute it.

Option two is to outsource your security needs to a reputable firm if your budget allows it. This works well if cybersecurity is not your wheelhouse and your time and energies are better spent elsewhere.

Pay Now or Pay Later

The Cost of Not Having Security

Every business has operating expenses. By not including quality website-based security as part of yours, you could be risking everything. As stated above in the statistics, 60% of businesses that fall victim to a cyberattack fail within six months.

Why? Even with insurance (another thing to check into to ensure you are properly insured), customer data loss can result in endless lawsuits that force companies into bankruptcy. It is a horrible and unfair truth. That is why this is one item that should survive every budget cut. Proper security is necessary to keep your business safe and profitable.

Security products we recommend: We recommend Wordfence to keep your site secure from malicious hackers. This plugin comes with many customizable tools to help secure sensitive information.

Cyber Security Wrap-Up

In this article, we discussed the basics needed to avoid security issues. Following the steps provided in this beginner’s guide will get you on the right path to a truly secure site. Statistics don’t lie.

Cybercriminals are out there 24/7 looking for gaps they can exploit. So if your company is one of many that is either delving into the online world for the first time or increasing their presence, make sure all the security boxes are being ticked and enjoy the peace of mind that your site is secure.

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