Five ways you can protect your website from hacking

The hacking of business websites is becoming more common – and more costly. Find out how you can protect your business from fraud and cyber crime.

According to recent research by Juniper, the rapid digitalisation of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019.

And thanks to the stacks of sensitive, confidential and valuable data they contain, corporate websites are firmly in the line of fire for fraud and cyber crime. Websites just like your own business site.

30,000 websites are hacked EVERY DAY

Indeed, every day 30,000 WordPress sites are hacked – at great cost. According to PwC, the worst web security breaches cost small businesses between £65,000 and £115,000, including business disruption, time spent dealing with the hack, lost business and damage to reputation.

No surprise then that more and more IT departments are bolstering and boosting website defences to attempt to keep out online offenders. But what do you do if you don’t have your own IT department on hand? What security steps do you need to take to protect your business website?

Five ways you can protect your website from hacking

Luckily there are a few habits you can get into to protect your business website from the risk of hacking. Business writer Patrick Vernon shares five tips.

1) Regularly backup all your data

Before you start to implement any kind of new security measure, your first priority should be backing up essential files and folders in multiple locations, from the cloud to SSD VPS.

By scattering your data across physical hard drives and virtual servers, the chances of losing every piece of important information are significantly reduced. What’s more, it will be much easier to get daily operations back up and running again in no time.

2) Keep your systems and software up-to-date

Hackers are constantly looking for any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure. Thankfully, operating system and anti-virus software vendors are doing exactly the same thing and will release patches to address these issues.

As a result, it is imperative you keep your systems and software up-to-date, especially since vendors only release patches when absolutely necessary due to how much it costs.

3) Encrypt customer details and company information

With most of the high-profile hacking incidents that have taken place over the past few years, cyber criminals target customer information such as names, addresses, and even credit details. So it makes perfect sense to encrypt any data that customers hand over on your website.

However, you should also think about doing the same for things like personnel files, financial accounts, and other internal information. This is just as valuable for hackers and could have extremely expensive consequences.

4) Get strict when it comes to access

In order to prevent hackers gaining access to the administration level of your website, put tight controls on access. For example, you could ask for more than just a username and password with two-step authentication. Alternatively, put a limit on the number of employees with this privilege.

Getting strict with access is a good idea for personal and private devices too, as they are much more vulnerable to hacker attack than those already familiar with your network. Possibilities include installing mobile software that encrypts email traffic and monitors suspicious activity on staff smartphones.

5) Train your workforce

A worrying survey by Intermedia found that 93% of UK and US ‘knowledge workers’ engaged in at least one form of risky data security last year. So, even if you introduce and adopt the strongest website security measures possible, they could be rendered useless by reckless employees.

That’s why it’s so important to train your workforce about the dangers of cyber crime. This can include providing staff with an internet usage policy, which offers advice like ignoring suspicious email attachments and limiting private device access to the company’s WiFi.