The holidays can be a particularly busy time for web traffic. As a result, an increase in site visitors could also mean an increase in exposed security vulnerabilities. That’s why you need to secure your website before the holidays hit.
With identity theft being one of the top three scams in the United States, it’s no surprise that customers are leery of what websites they use.
As a business professional and website administrator, you want to be certain that your customers can trust your site. Because a secure website doesn’t just protect your customers’ data—it also increases the likelihood that they’ll feel safe returning to your business.
Read on for four ways you can secure your website for the holidays and beyond.
1. Make Sure Your Website Uses HTTPS
HTTPS is fundamental to the security of any website. It’s a protocol that secures data on the internet, ensuring that site users are on the server they expect, and that hackers can’t read or change the data the user is transmitting. If the URL of your website begins with “https://”, then your website is already in good shape.
In order to use HTTPS on your website, you need to have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. This certification verifies that the website user’s data gets sent securely.
Recently, Google made changes to the Chrome browser to make insecure websites more easily identifiable. Now, if your website does not employ HTTPS, there will be a red “Not Secure” message next to the URL of your website, which may dissuade users from visiting. Additionally, Google now increases the SEO ranking for websites that use HTTPS.
2. Use a Secure Website Platform or Hosting Service
If you aren’t hosting your website on your own, make sure that the website platform and hosting service that you use is reputable and secure.
Keep in mind that some platforms are more secure than others. For example, using an ecommerce hosting site like Shopify offers more built-in security features for monetary transactions than other hosts. Many hosting services will offer additional security measures, such as site-wide SSL security certificates.
If you don’t use a hosting site that offers security enhancements, it’s up to you to ensure that you have security measures in place to prevent hacking, spam, and viruses.
3. Install Updates Regularly (or Automatically)
Smart hackers know that many people overlook updating their website software, and that’s often where vulnerabilities lie.
Website software and content management system creators regularly release security updates to patch weaknesses. However, your website won’t benefit if you don’t authorize those updates.
Make sure that you are installing updates regularly (or even automatically, if the software allows it) for all of your plugins and software, as well as for website malware or antivirus protection programs.
This simple practice is an easy way to increase the security of your website.
4. Use Strong Passwords & Multi-Factor Authentication
You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but it bears repeating: Make certain you use strong passwords. Weak passwords can drastically decrease the security of your website.
Confirm that you and all other website administrators, employees, and website users have strong passwords, and make sure the password for your site is unique and not being used elsewhere.
To take it a step further, consider using two-factor authentication (2FA) services to increase the security of your login credentials. Your CMS or hosting platform may offer built-in 2FA security, but if not, you can also use a third-party service like Google Authenticator.
As long as you take these measures to secure your website before the holidays, you’ll be less likely to encounter any security vulnerabilities during the season.
What security measures have you found most helpful in protecting your website and your customers’ data? Leave a comment below and join the discussion on web security.
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