What is web security and why is it important for your website

Web security is fast becoming a cause for concern for many businesses, and cyber security spending is set to exceed $1 trillion between 2017 to 2021.

There are a few things you can do to ensure that your website is as secure as possible, which will keep your business safe online. Here, we’ve outlined some of precautions you can take to keep your website safe from hackers.

Make sure you are registered as the owner of your domain name

Before you can even begin to build your secure website, you’ll need to choose a domain name, which is a vital step in building your brand. As branding experts Novanym explain, an ideal domain name should “capture the tone of voice and style of your business”, so you should take care in picking the right one.

>See also: The state of IT security in UK businesses

Once you’ve chosen the perfect domain, you’ll need to think about the security of your website, and the best way to keep it protected against hackers.The first thing you need to do is register your domain name. It’s essential that you register it under your name, as the owner of your business, as this can save you money in the long run, and will keep you in control. Some web host companies may offer to pay for the registration fees, but may not list you as the owner, which takes away your ownership rights to the domain, and gives them the chance to sell you your own domain name for a massive fee later down the line.

If you do register the domain with the web host company, make sure that you or your business is listed as the administrative contact, technical contact, and as the owner. This means that if you choose to transfer your domain name at a later date, such as to a more secure host, you will be able to approve the move.

Set your domain to auto-renew annually

If you forget to renew your domain, your website will go offline. This will wreak havoc for your business, and leave it vulnerable to hackers. When you first purchase your domain name, you will be able to decide how long you want to buy it for. In most cases, this is for a year, but this can be customised depending on your business plan. You will also be presented with the option to automatically renew the domain once it expires, which is very highly recommended, as you won’t need to remember to repurchase it.

>See also: Five cyber security trends for 2018

Leaving your website open also gives other people, including your business’ competitors, the chance to swoop in and buy the domain, which they can then sell back to you for an extortionate price.

A classic, and somewhat ironic, example of this is when Marketo, a company that specialises in marketing automation software, failed to auto-renew its primary domain, leaving the website inaccessible to clients for hours. The business eventually got back up and running, thanks to a helpful bystander who renewed the domain on behalf of the business.

Change your passwords periodically and use 2-factor authentication

Try to avoid using the same password for all of your accounts—once someone has control of one of your accounts, it won’t be long before they’re taking control of them all. And while everyone knows that more complex passwords are better, not everyone will choose one.

In fact, a recent survey found that an average of 19% of business professionals use poor quality passwords that make accounts “easily compromised”. Simply using a password that has a minimum of eight characters, including at least one uppercase letter and one number, will increase the password strength.

>See also: 7 cyber security threats to SMEs and how to secure against them

Change your passwords regularly, at least every 3 months, in order to keep your accounts and website as secure as possible. Two-factor authentication can also increase security, as it involves using a piece of information available only to you. This could be a password, key fob, or a card reader which will generate a random code to grant access to the website.

However, this can up the cost, as you will need to order them for everyone who will be logging into the account.

Switch to an encrypted website

One of the best ways to keep your website secure is switching from a standard HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to HTTPS (HTTP Secured), which adds an additional layer of security and encryption.

It works by using an SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer) which protects the data and any sensitive information that is passed between server and browser.

This ensures that any information your customers and clients input on your website is secure and protected, which in turn makes it more difficult for a third party, or hacker, to get their hands on the information.

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...