Website security refers to the actions taken to protect your website from cyberattacks. All IT administrators would agree that it does not sound as simple as its definition. Website security is a complex concept. Sometimes, it can be confusing. The complexity lies in the sense that website security is a continuous process and a crucial mission of your website management team. The good news is we have trimmed it down for you. Protect the security of your website through the principles of website security.
To start off, let us put your mindset on the same page. Imagine a sliced onion. It consists of many layers. It is best to start our understanding of these principles by acknowledging that the concept of website security comes in layers. It requires consistent assessment and sustained measures to approach it holistically. When we speak of protecting your website, it means securing the entire system and treating each part as interconnected.
Asset Inventory and Management
In any industry, inventory and management of assets is an essential part of running the business. It keeps you up-to-date on what the company owns, their condition, and their location. This is the same concept with inventory and management on all your website assets. The inventory can include identifying the following:
- web properties
- web servers and infrastructure
- third-party integrations and services
- extensions, plug-ins, modules, and themes
- access points or nodes
Keeping track and reviewing your website assets is the first step to securing your website. Identifying your website assets is the first step. This where a performance audit comes in.
“Prevention is better than cure” is a cliché. But this also applies to keeping your website from threats. Detecting the threats is important, but preventing them to occur is a high priority. Cyberattacks are becoming extensive. Preventive measures can give you, your business, and your customer peace of mind. There are effective measures to keep your data safe from prying eyes. But where do we begin? There are many ways to detect threats before they become aggressive.
You can protect your business website by using SSL (Secure Socket Layers) Certificates. It is a standard technology that keeps sensitive data away from cybercriminals. It prevents unauthorized access to confidential data on your website. Through SSLs, you prevent fraud, falsification, data removal, altering, and transfer.
A good preventive measure for your business website can also include employee training and setting an access control protocol. You can mandate your employees especially those who frequently access the site to use two-factor authorization. This way, you add another layer of protection by keeping your website from unauthorized access.
A timely website audit is key. A website performance audit will look into your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), page content, site speed, ROI calculation, conversion rates, analytics, indexed URLs, and mobile device compatibility. How timely is timely? Well, that depends on the size of your business. For small to mid-sized companies, twice a year is recommended. Large companies are advised to perform website audits quarterly.
Continuous Website Monitoring
Not only does real-time website monitoring optimize the website performance, but it also strengthens website security control. By continuously monitoring your website, you get live alerts of issues that could lead to a breach in the security of your website. This means website monitoring should work hand-in-hand with security monitoring.
There are many things to monitor for uptime to get complete data of your server health and website performance. In internal monitoring, for example, some top metrics which should be measured and evaluated on your servers include physical memory, CPU load, and other processes within your corporate firewall. Monitoring internally involves many necessary processes that run in the background and sometimes any malware or malicious software variants, including viruses, ransomware, and spyware, can cause your server to shutdown. By keeping an eye on what causes what by monitoring all the related processes, you can identify what process to keep and what to stop.
As we all know, internal monitoring is good only when the entire system is working well. This is where external monitoring comes in – to aid when internal monitoring fails. Server or website downtime can be caused by many issues – traffic spikes, malware attacks, and data center problems, among others. In order to effectively gauge the performance of your site, it is important to acknowledge that monitoring should be a combination of both internal and external monitoring.
Analyze and Mitigate
To analyze and mitigate means to establish a response category. When something happens that may lead to the vulnerability of your website assets such as a possible breach in security, a response plan must come in handy. This can be subcategorized as designating an incident response team, an incident report outline, and a response plan to alleviate the effect of an incident. The general rule is: better ready than sorry.
When reversing or stopping the damage, you can never detect in advance what malware is causing the damage. Some malware can actively cross-contaminate or can quickly infect other websites, especially in a shared server setup.
A proactive website security strategy mitigates the risks of cyberattacks. This is especially true to all online businesses – big and small. We need to stop the misconception that only large company websites are at risk of cyberattacks. All transactions that are done online, no matter the size, are at risk for website security threats. Web security is an essential aspect of website management. As a website owner or an IT Administrator of the company, it is your responsibility to protect the business and your customers.
Having an all-encompassing preparation and response plan will ensure that you are equipped with the necessary tools in cases of website security breach incidents. A dependable and reliable website security team that goes hand in hand with the above website security principles is critical to the success of the mission in protecting and defending your website security.