Hacking. Ransomware. Malware. Virus. Phishing scam. All these words strike fear into the hearts of any business owner when they find out their website has been attacked by cybercriminals. The worst thing is that most of the time, these business owners are forced to rebuild their website from the bottom up. We’ve heard horror stories of when this happened only to find out the website was hacked again!
Enough is enough. No one can afford to lose their website to cybercriminals, nor should they. The solutions we have to offer to you if you want to boost your website’s security can be done very easily!
1: Update your website and antivirus software.
Our checklist for the New Year is a good starting point, but really anytime is the best time to update your website! This step may be a no-brainer to some, but you’d be shocked as to how many people don’t realize that not updating their website ends up with them paying more money than before—and then some.
We also highly recommend updating some of your most out-of-date plugins your site relies on. If your website is based on of a WordPress template, updating the plugins is a simple task to do, but just like the rest of your website, we insist that plugins are checked up on regularly as opposed to just once in a while. Some plugins that don’t get updated are prime targets for cybercriminals, and a simple update can help deter any of their attacks.
Likewise, if there is any software you use regularly and it hasn’t been updated in a while, get it done pronto. It doesn’t actually cost as much as you would think to update your most valuable software or even invest in solid antivirus and anti-malware software, yet so many business owners leave their programs out of date because they’re trying to save money. Let’s be clear: losing your entire website and rebuilding it is way more expensive than a simple update!
It’s also important to keep an eye on which plugins (and even your theme) are even being maintained. Just because no update is available doesn’t mean it’s safe. Updating your plugins, themes, and software is imperative but knowing when and what to update can keep your site from breaking. That’s where a good maintenance plan comes so that you just don’t have to worry about it.
2: Back up your files.
This is another task that should be completed regularly, even daily. Backing up your files regularly can give you peace of mind and leave you with one less thing to worry about while you’re running your business. It’s also one of the easiest means of providing your website with extra protection against computer viruses. Naturally having an antivirus program set up will lessen that risk, but regular backups for your website is a great extra security measure. If you are hosted with V3, your backups are taken care of automatically. Feel free to contact us for a snapshot of your account that you can keep for yourself.
3: Keep your logins and passwords safe.
One of the easiest ways a website can get hacked is with easy-to-crack logins and passwords, as well as a lousy storage system for them. We all know that using strong passwords is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean everyone does so. It’s too tempting to make your passwords easy to remember, but this is dangerous; what’s easy for you to remember will be as easy for cybercriminals to remember too.
Some ways to keep those logins safe include the following:
- Each password should be 8 or more characters long, including numbers and punctuation
- Logins should expire after a certain period of inactivity
- Change your passwords often and ensure they’re strong
- All devices using logins are scanned for threats when they’re plugged in
4: Make sure your website uses HTTPS.
That simple addition of an ‘s’ at the end of HTTP will indicate to both site visitors and search engines that you are using the highest security measures, ensuring that your visitors and would-be customers have a safe browsing or shopping experience, and that you’re a trustworthy source from the search engines’ points of view—both of which are very good for your business! Having HTTPS in place also makes it tougher for hackers and cybercriminals to steal any logins or credit card information. If your business sells any products at all online or it’s an ecommerce one, this solution is actually an absolute necessity. If V3 hosts your site, SSL certificates are included in your hosting for free. If your site isn’t using HTTPS, it may be a quick and inexpensive fix to make it right.
5: Stay Up to Date on the Latest Cybercrimes
We stay up to date at V3 Media on the latest news regarding cybercrime because secure web hosting and site maintenance is one of many services we offer business owners. We occasionally post recent scam reports and criminal activity on our social media to help our audience stay informed as well as offer solutions—usually very easy ones—on how to prevent the cybercrime from happening at all. With so many news reports about scammers and cybercriminals trying to take advantage of business owners (for example this article from Wordfence we shared last month on social media), there’s no such thing as being overly cautious when it comes to your website’s security.
6: Hire us.
Yes, we’re serious. If you want a secure website that your customers can trust, stop being cheap by hiring Rick from downstairs (even though he’s probably a really nice guy) and get a professional to maintain your website and ensure its security is tight. This very service is one we have been providing business owners since the 1990s!
Like we said, a lot of these solutions may be no-brainers to some, but you’d be amazed at how easy it can be to lose all your data and your website to cybercriminals these days. If you want a stronger, more secure website that’s up to date with the times, give us a call. If you want to learn more about securing a website but aren’t sure how to start, we offer one-on-one consultation too!