How to Secure a Website in 6 Easy Steps

websites

Seven million people. According to the Thales Group, more than seven million data records are hacked every day. These data records could be anything from the financial records and private messages to personal interests. And, if you run a website, this may be your customers’ personal information. Website protection is no laughing matter, and every company or website administrator should make it a top priority to learn how to protect a website.

Failure to properly secure a website will result in:

Noncompliance (and the hefty penalties that come with it), losing your customer’s trust/damage to your brand, and a waste of time and money are all possible outcomes.

There are several ways for a hacker to gain access to your website and cause havoc. The list goes on and on, from phishing attacks to code injections to misconfigured apps. While inside, a hacker can do everything from humiliate you to maliciously attack your users and customers. Dealing with a website hack is never a pleasant experience.

This is why website security is so important. We’ll look at a few main ways to create an impenetrable layer of protection over, in, and around your website in the sections below. This ensures that you and your customers aren’t among the 7+ million data records that are compromised every day.

Let’s go through a short list of methods for securing a website:

Secure Your Website with HTTPS

Hopefully, your website is receiving a lot of traffic, such as clicks, comments, and requests. A happy website is one that is active. With all of this operation, it’s critical to use HTTPS to protect your communications (especially when they’re in transit).

Using the encrypted HTTPS protocol, an SSL/TLS certificate can encrypt your communications. All communications between your user’s browser and your website (especially your web server) are encrypted as a result of this. As a result, hackers are unable to intercept data in transit (i.e., between your customers’ browsers and your web server).

HTTPS is For Everyone

A common misconception is that SSL certificates are only needed for ecommerce websites. This isn’t correct. HTTPS is required for even static websites. Since hackers can actually watch user interactions on vulnerable websites and use the information gained in a phishing attack or anything similar, this is the case. A hacker, for example, might steal information about one of your users that means they’re considering Invisalign care. They will then give the customer emails about the product in the hopes of fooling them into believing it’s from a dentist about whom they’ve already asked.

How to a Secure Website with the Highest Level of Validation

Domain validation (DV), organisation validation (OV), and extended validation (EV) are the three forms of SSL validation (EV). Users can quickly check your company information in their browser if you have an EV SSL certificate, which is the highest level of validation.

For ecommerce sites, I suggest EV SSL certificates in particular. The extra layer of confidence may mean the difference between a sale and nothing.

Free SSL vs. Paid SSL

Free isn’t necessarily better… believe it or not. It may seem that not having to invest any money to secure your website with HTTPS is a good deal, but it isn’t as good as you would think. For starters, the validity levels you can have with a free SSL/TLS certificate are restricted. For a variety of reasons, the free guys are unable to obtain an extended validation certificate, the most critical of which is that they lack the resources required for manual information verification.

In addition, you will not get a warranty with your order. SSL certificate purchasers benefit from SSL insurance policies (also known as certificate warranties) because they keep the CA accountable for particular security issues. Without it, the users’ data could be intercepted due to the CA’s error, and you’ll be left to deal with the fallout with no one to direct them to.

Three, in what can be a difficult business to navigate, the free guys don’t have customer service. With nothing but (unhelpful) web forums to turn to, you or your IT team can become extremely frustrated.

Finally, free SSL certificates are often used by hackers to deceive users into believing they are visiting a secure website. Users could lose confidence in your website as a result of this. It’s better to invest in a commercial SSL certificate (there are plenty of them available at reasonable prices) and reap the benefits.

Update Your Software

One of the simplest ways for hackers to gain access to your website is by exploiting a loophole. Many security flaws are caused by unpatched and out-of-date software that hasn’t been modified. (Note that not all updates are intended to make your iPhone run slower; in reality, the vast majority of updates and patches are performed for security reasons.)

Your web host will perform several upgrades, including operating system (OS) and server software updates. There are, however, some changes that must be performed manually. There are usually upgrades to your CMS apps and CMS add-ons.

Create a list of applications installed on your website and manually check it on a weekly basis to ensure your CMS changes are taken care of and you are not vulnerable to attacks. I recommend that you allow automatic updates if you have the choice. Even, before upgrading your programme, make a backup of your website in case something goes wrong.

There are also some very useful automated tools for vulnerability patching. It will be the responsibility of the automated vulnerability patching tool service provider to keep track of vulnerabilities and what software needs to be modified.

Remove Malware to Keep Your Site More Secure

Hackers will frequently mask and conceal the fact that your website has been hacked. Their target is usually to do as much harm as possible while remaining undetected. That’s a difficult rope to navigate. A hacker can use a few techniques to avoid detection. Many of them entail some kind of concealment of your website’s hacked or altered pages. They could conceal them by doing the following:

Users who arrived at the page from a search engine are the only ones who can see them.
Users who have signed in as an admin on the compromised website are not seeing them.
Users from specific countries can only see them (namely not the country of the website admins).

So, if you’re curious about how to protect a website under these circumstances, keep reading. It can be difficult to remove malware from your website. You might do it manually, but it would take a long time and be ineffective if you aren’t very web-savvy. It entails connecting to your website through FTP and going through each file one by one, manually removing malware. And you don’t want to miss an infected file or a piece of malicious code by mistake (which is easy to do)….

Using a malware scanner makes securing a website much simpler. Although it isn’t free, it will save you time and possibly save you from a long-term catastrophe. A malware scanner that is automated will search your website for malware and delete it for you (sometimes with the help of manual work done by the malware scanner service provider).

Use a Web Application Firewall

Wouldn’t it be great if you could avoid infectious code before it got to your website, with all this talk about deleting it? A web application firewall (WAF) can help with this. A WAF, in simple terms, creates a bridge between your website and the internet (hence the name firewall). This barrier examines all user requests to your website and refuses them if they are considered malicious.

Requests are filtered by WAFs based on a collection of rules. The trick to making this set of rules successful is to keep them up to date in order to tackle the ever-evolving cyber threats that lurk on the internet.

A cloud-based firewall is the most powerful form of WAF. CDNs are used for the majority of cloud-based WAFs, which has a few advantages:

The firewall will be managed by the WAF service provider, who will keep the collection of rules up to date.
They usually have enough flexibility to allow you to add your own custom rules.
Your website’s speed will actually increase if it’s hosted on a CDN (assuming it’s a decent one).

Back Up Your Website Regularly

Holding copies of your website is the ultimate simple website patch. Consider it a “do-over button” for website protection if tragedy strikes. The easiest way to back up your website is to use an automated service that saves backups to a secure location, such as a cloud-based server. Manually backing up your website takes time and needs you to remember to do so on a regular basis (or else you risk not having recent backups).

The tricky thing about manually backing up your website is finding out where to securely store the backups. If you have them on your local computer, in a web hosting account, or in the cloud, and you get hacked and need backups, your backups might be compromised along with everything else.

As a result, using an automated website backup service is typically the best option (more on this in a bit). Finding an automatic website backup service that takes incremental backups is also a good idea.

Secure Your Website with a Multi-Faceted Web Security Tool

All of the tactics and tools mentioned above can be used separately with various applications, platforms, and logins. Managing all of this, though, can be difficult. Look for a forum that combines a couple of the above strategies.

CodeGuard, for example, is an automated website backup and restoration tool. It makes automatic backups and stores them on an encrypted cloud server, allowing you to restore your website to its previous clean state at any time. It also includes a malware scanner and remediation tool that checks for malware and removes it by replacing infected files with clean versions from the past. All of this in one convenient box!

A Final Thought on Website Security

Don’t get caught up in all the risks that come with running a website. When used correctly, a website will greatly assist your company, brand, and digital footprint in growing. You’ll quickly know how to protect a website AND be able to concentrate on the important things — like making conversions — with something like CodeGuard helping you fend off website disasters.

Melina Richardson is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cybers Guards & w-se. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.