Keeping your website safe is as important now as it's ever been. This is especially true for online stores or businesses that store customer's information online. While more and more business and marketing is being done online, business owners have to be vigilant about their website security.
It seems large corporations like Facebook or Target are in the news weekly for large scale hacks that expose millions of consumers' personal information. These stories might trick some small business owner into thinking that hackers only go after large corporate, but that is far from true.
Small businesses are more likely to get hacked over large corporations. While they have fewer accounts to access, they are much easier to hack than large corporations.
Today, small business owners have a responsibility to keep their personal information (and the personal information of their customers) private. Here are a few things small business owners can do to make sure their website is safe and secure.
1. Keep Software Updated
While it may be annoying to see pop-up after pop-up asking you to download a new update, it is one of the easiest ways to make your website secure. If you are managing your own website on WordPress, make sure to install the latest updates as soon as they are released. A lot of the time these updates fix bugs and other minor issues that have potentially left your website open to hackers. As soon as an update is available, download it immediately!
If you are using a managed hosting solution for your website, like Wix, then you don’t need to worry as much about applying security updates as the hosting company should take care of this.
Website security company Securi says that updates are key to protecting your site. “It is incredibly important to update your site as soon as a new plugin or CMS version is available. Those updates might just contain security enhancements or patch a vulnerability.”
2. Create Strong Passwords
Another simple, but effective, way to fortify your website is by having strong passwords. The online accounts that you create are only as secure as your passwords, so it is important to take the time and effort upfront to save for possible issues down the road.
If have weak passwords, you risk putting your (and your customers') personal information at risk of being hacked. A week password is anything that can easily be figured out, like "Password". Strong passwords are harder for hackers, and hacking software, to crack, like "ke9W#v04CBm1@eU874p".
When it comes to a strong password, the goal to strive for is something that cannot be easily guessed or something that follows a predictable pattern. Strong passwords are long, use upper and lowercase letters, and includes numbers plus symbols.
Another important tip about passwords is to not use information that can easily be found online. Do not make your password that name of your children, pets, birthday or address.
LastPass is a service that can help with manage business passwords. Not only does it generate strong passwords, but it also automatically logins in so that you don't have to remember each individual password. LastPass comes in a free and paid version.
3. Add Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is newer when it comes to mainstream website security, but it is quickly becoming the norm. If your website conducts payment transactions, it is highly recommended that you be using two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication goes beyond entering a username and password, and usually send a user a randomly generated code through text to verity account permission. Another methods are:
Texting a code to the number associated with an account
Sending an email with a confirmation link
Forcing a user to answer a security question and answer
Two-factor authentication makes hacking passwords much harder, which means you and your customers have peace of mind that your personal information on your website is safe and secure.