In late 2018, Marriott Group’s guest reservation database was breached, more than 500 million customer details such as addresses, passport numbers, credit card data, and email ids, among others, have been exposed. Incidents like these not only undermine brand reputation but also attract class action lawsuits and settlement costs.
If you run a small business site, it’s even more essential to harden the security. A successful cyberattack could potentially be the end of everything for you. As a business entity, it’s already tough enough to build long term sustainability. Simple mistakes with site security can create a lot of stress; and, your customers might never want to come back to you after such an unforeseen event.
In this article, we discuss some of the vital security measures you can take to protect your site from hackers and attacks.
Scan for Malware
Malware infects your site and harvests important data like payment information, usernames, and passwords, customer personal data, etc. Attackers then use this information to their benefit in various ways. Perform malware scanning regularly, and quarantine if you find malware as soon as possible to minimize the damage. Many free and paid malware scanners are available. Do your research and evaluate your needs before choosing a malware scanning solution.
Secure Site Traffic with an SSL Certificate
First, configure your site to use HTTPS everywhere. HTTPS is the secure version of the HTTP protocol. HTTPS protocol establishes a secure connection between a user’s browser and your site’s servers.
Enable HTTP to HTTPS redirects on your web servers so that even when users enter an HTTP URL, your servers can respond with the HTTPS version of it.
Once you do this, you need the best SSL certificate, which helps your users’ browsers to recognize that your site is secure. Different types of SSL certificates are available in the market with various features and functionalities, which mostly depend on your provider or certificate authority (CA).
If you run a primary site with different subdomains, you can choose the Comodo Positive Wildcard SSL Certificate, which can cover your primary domain and all of its subdomains.
Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Also known as WAF, a web application firewall monitors incoming traffic and blocks suspicious activity. CDN providers, such as Cloudflare and Akamai, provide WAF solutions. Depending on your needs, you can go for an advanced, AI-enabled WAF solution such as Signal Sciences. A WAF also helps you set up rate limiting — the number of attempts for login or viewing can be made on a page or URL in a time frame — to protect against brute force or dictionary attacks.
Update Yourself Regularly
Security is a continuous process. Security researchers around the world keep on finding issues in various software components such as web servers, database systems, and others. Whenever vulnerabilities are found, you should quickly apply patches and fixes before hackers can exploit them. One such example is a recent vulnerability found in Nginx — a popular web server.
Enable Continuous Data Protection Backups
When you run a digital business or sell online, one of your most valuable assets is your data. Also known as CDP backups, Continuous Data Protection backups save a copy of your business site data automatically at a set frequency, ideally once or twice daily. This is especially helpful when your server faces ransomware attacks, in which data is encrypted by the attacker — locking you out from accessing your data — and the attacker demands payment to unencrypt it. Besides, CDP backups protect your business from any underlying hardware failures such as storage drives.
Update Software Components
From time to time, you should update your software components. Often, software vendors give up supporting older versions. And, in case, any vulnerability found in outdated versions won’t be fixed, in general. Whenever and wherever possible, you should upgrade your site backend components to the latest stable versions.
Beware of using beta versions: these tend to be experimental and unstable, exposing you to uncertain risks. Always test your updates and upgrades in a testing environment before releasing on live or production environments.
Consider Cyber Insurance
If you assess that successful cyberattacks on your site can do substantial damage to your business, you should consider cyber insurance. Sometimes, no matter what you do, hackers come up with novel techniques to be successful with their attacks.
Like other insurance plans, cyber insurance lets you hedge against the risk of cyberattacks. For example, if an attack on your site did impact your business, cyber insurance can alleviate the situation with agreed-upon terms when you signed up for the insurance. This is a novel idea, but many big companies are already into this. Even if you are a small business, you can consider one.
Web technologies are evolving, so do cyber-criminals with their tactics and attacking strategies. Even companies as big as Marriott Group or Equifax weren’t immune either. As a simple business owner or manager, you should be more vigilant about your site security.
You should protect your business site from attacks. Do note that securing your website is a continuous process. You can’t just set up things once and think that the site is secure. Keep the above mentions tips and ideas handy and put them into practice. Also, think of strategies you can implement to toughen up the security.