Website Security – Protect Yourself against Hackers

Ever since the internet was invented, security, infiltration and third-party abuse has been a major issue. With the internet now playing an integral part in all of our lives, web security is fast becoming an important consideration for us all.

Last year internet security was brought into sharp focus when hackers gained access to thousands of personal email addresses from Epsilon, one of the biggest online marketing agencies in the world. This was followed by another high profile hack of websites using the GoDaddy web hosting platform in 2012.
What’s particularly worrying is that these data breaches are just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of other attacks which go unreported by the media, but still have a negative financial and online impact on businesses across the world.

So, what happens if a website is hacked?

Well, it might just stop working. This means that when your customers try and visit your site they will just get an error message. Not great for your reputation or sales figures! Another downside is that, if you’re using an official email address (e.g. me@mywebsite.com), that’ll stop working as well. In most cases this leaves the whole company without email until the problem is solved. The final, most serious downside to having your site hacked is that it will give hackers access to any private information you’ve collected about your customers. This could include anything from email addresses to bank information. It can be extremely serious.
Unfortunately, any business with an online presence is at risk from hacks like this. Luckily, there are a number of easy measures you can take to safeguard yourself against hackers and avoid the cost and inconvenience a security breach can cause.

Where’s Your Website Hosted?

Most companies host their websites on shared servers. This means that one computer server will hold all the information for many different websites. Hackers realise that they can cause a great deal of damage to many websites by gaining access to these servers. The best way of minimising this type of threat is to choose a server with a proven track record of reliability. It’s also a very good idea to pay a little more for your web hosting and have your website hosted on a dedicated server. This means that your information is all contained on one server of which you have exclusive use.
 

Viruses, Malware and Spyware

In order to gain access to your website, server or personal information, hackers need a way of obtaining passwords. The most common way for them to go about this is to use viruses, malware and spyware. Most commonly, these are sent through emails and attachments.
To stop hackers gaining access to your personal information it’s important to use the best anti-virus software you can find. It’s also very important that your software covers all aspects of ‘internet security’. Once you start using the anti-virus software it’s crucial that you update is as often as possible. This will help ensure that you are always one step ahead of the hackers.

How’s Your Website Built?

Websites can be built in many different ways. The most crucial aspect is which Content Management System (CMS) it uses. Most of the websites we build use the WordPress platform which is very secure – if it’s managed properly.
When a website is built it’s very important to cloak certain information from public view by paying close attention to the code that the website’s build from. So long as the code is written or adapted to hide the vital information from hacker’s eyes, your website will remain secure.
Another crucial aspect of website security is how regularly your CMS application is updated. Most major CMS systems will release an update every month or so. They don’t do it for fun; it’s for your protection. The latest version will include protection from the latest threats and viruses. To ensure you are as protected as you can be, you need to make sure your website is ALWAYS using the most up to date CMS version available.
You will never be completely safe from hackers – but if you follow each of these steps your website will be better protected than 99% of business websites. Internet security is a fluid and ever evolving issue. To ensure that you are always one step ahead, nothing can replace expert knowledge.
We offer all our customers the option to have their website hosted on one of our dedicated servers which includes automatic CMS updates and added security safeguards. This coupled with our expert support is by far the best way to ensure that your website is as protected as possible.
If you have any questions about the security of your business website, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.
 
By Angus Findlay

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