Especially if you’re using your website as an online store, it’s important to make sure that each transaction is safe and secure. Data transferred to and from your website must be kept under lock and key. Because your chosen platform for server hosting can only do so much, you have to conduct frequent security audits.
Why you should conduct security audits
For the obvious reason that it costs money to repair the damages. You’ll need to fix the security breach which can be expensive, plus the loss of business from customers who have become victims of it.
Hackers and phishers will get into any website, regardless of what your content is. What they’re after are digital assets, information, that they can exploit or monetise. You owe it to your visitors to keep their data safe.
Not to mention, constant updates often come with bugs that can make your page vulnerable. A security audit will help you avoid all that hassle and let you protect your credibility.
Security audit checklist
If you don’t know where to start, here are some of the things you can do:
- Install a Malware scan on your website. It blocks spam and checks for suspicious visits constantly. You can also run a virus scan, depending on the plug-in you’ve chosen.
- Update all available security updates and backend software.
- Make sure that network traffic is firewalled.
- Use a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) to encrypt username and password.
- Backup all your files and databases.
There are steps you can do to protect the information that goes to and from your website. You can start with limiting database access per application of other users so that if one user is hacked, no other application is affected.
Purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for two reasons: to encrypt sensitive data and to adhere to Google’s requirements. Without this certificate, not only will your site rank low in the search engine, but Google will tag you with a big red ‘Not Secure’ beside your URL.
As for your Content Management System (CMS), make sure all your plug-ins and extensions are up to date. If you’re using WordPress, you don’t need to worry about it since they do it automatically across all websites using their platform. However, you still need to update the installed plug-ins manually.
If you can, do enable two-factor authentication and change your passwords frequently. And lastly, make use of anti-spam techniques like CAPTCHA.
When to conduct a security audit
The general rule is that every time you make changes on your page, you must conduct a complete security check. But especially if your website is new and the security software you have is still on the basic level, do an audit at least twice a month.
As soon as you’re getting significant traction already, make sure you upgrade your security. High traffic is usually a magnet for hackers, and their technique will be more sophisticated than the usual theft.
Protect your website by following these security tips to keep your digital assets and that of your visitors safe.