Website security should be a top priority for all website-owners – especially those in e-commerce. In e-commerce operations, you should ensure that your website is secure for your clients. A safe website should of course be a priority to protect your clients’ privacy, but it may also be essential for you to attract new customers.
Recently, Google has changed their algorithm to prefer websites with secured URLs. Indeed, in a recent poll with MarketWatch survey, website security being the top barrier to conversion among users. Two out of three people in the survey stated that they shop online in fear of a personal data breach.
With the recent allegations against Facebook and the rise of big data privacy breaches, you can’t blame them. In 2015, cyber thieves stole data on 145 million eBay customers by hacking 3 corporate employees.The internet still remains relatively unregulated, and data privacy is constantly at risk. However, as a webmaster, you have the power to equip your website with the measures necessary to ensure its security. Here are a few simple ways to improve your website security.
Get https certified
As mentioned before, a secure URL can boost your conversion rates, placing you at the top of the list in Google search hits.
Additionally, a secure data URL is necessary to ensure your customers’ credit card data, address data, passwords, login pages, etc. are protected in safe transactions. Https is vital in today’s Internet landscape. The little padlock in the address bar of a website browser denotes an https address, ensuring that the data you’re receiving from that website is encrypted.
Starting in July 2018, Google adopted a tool that prompts a “not secure” warning if users entered data in a non-https website. This may scare potential customers if you do not have a https verified website, damaging your conversion rates.
Furthermore, an https site is just common practice today, and without one, you’ll lose the trust of your customers. Even something as small as a little padlock next to your web address will ensure your potential customer that your website is secure, and you’ll win their trust.
An https installation is not expensive to install. You’ll just need to purchase an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate, which should be around $10 year from NameCheap or SSLS. Many website hosting companies even offer free SSL certificates with their packages.
The installation process following purchase is a little more complicated. A web developer or your hosting company can help you install your https. Once your SSL certificate is installed, you should notify Google to let them know your website is now https certified so that they can index your website in their database. You can do this through Google Search Console.
Website security is compromised when your security systems are outdated. The cyber hackers of today are incredibly innovative and are constantly modifying their attacks to breach the even the smallest of exploitation opportunities. Installing a website firewall will ensure that security holes in your website are patched as soon as possible.
WordPress updates include the plugin ‘WP Updates Notifier’ that can email you when a new update or plugin is available. This would be useful to subscribe to make sure your security is up to date.
Download a Web Application Firewall
Firewalls are useful ways to inspect incoming traffic and can be an effective bulwark against initial hacking attempts. The application can be easily added to your hosting package from website hosters.
Make sure your website’s passwords are long and complicated. Passwords like ‘123’ or ‘admin’ are just about as useful as having no password at all. Developing complex passwords, longer than 12 characters, with capitalized letters and symbols is the way to go. Avoid even using words because hackers use breached password dictionaries online to hack websites with ease.
This password policy should be maintained throughout your website and your company’s accounts.
Keep a Clean Website
Delete any old files, databases, or applications from your website to keep it clean and safe from data breaches. Databases, applications, and plugins are perfect points of entry for hackers, and they will exploit any old files.
Backup Your Data
Conduct regular backups of your websites to make sure files are accessible if your site ever becomes inaccessible. Some website hosters offer plugins to regularly automatically back up your website.
Change Default CMS Settings
The most common cyber attacks on websites target users who have default content management system settings. By simply changing the default CMS settings, you can avoid these kinds of attacks. You can easily adjust the comments, users, and visibility of your user information when installing your CMS.
Manage Your Extensions
Plugins can be useful tools for your website, serving almost any functionality for a website out there. However, they can also be dangerous weak spots for cyber attacks. Make sure your extensions have been recently updated, are new, are made by experienced developers, and come from legitimate sources. There are millions of extensions made available to the public, many riddled with malware to poison websites. Be wary of which you decide to download.
These are just a few easy ways to secure your website. Although implementing all these suggestions will undoubtedly increase your website’s security, they are not guarantees. Nonetheless, these security measures will make your website safer for your clients, and they will be grateful for it!