The Importance of Security in Website Design
Remember the Ashley Madison fiasco last year? The website that facilitated confidential affairs for married persons had their data breached. The hackers released key user information, much to the embarrassment (and legal headache) of the individuals included in the list.
This example only underlines the importance of website security. This is especially true for e-commerce websites, that receive their customer’s personal information (names, addresses and credit card details). As a business, you have the obligation and responsibility to keep these data safe.
Here are some things you need to consider with regards to website security:
- A data breach can be the end of your business. Hackers can use data to commit fraud and identity theft. They can also play with your website’s e-mail lists, sending malicious e-mails to your customers. They can infect your website with a virus, which will shut down your website and potentially spread and infect your data infrastructure. Customers will naturally want nothing of this and will keep away from your site, and so will potential customers.
- A data breach can increase your risk of liability. If it can be shown that you failed to take reasonable precautions to secure your website and the resulting data breach resulted in a loss for your customers (i.e. identity theft), your customers can sue you. A penalty of tens of thousands of dollars may mean bankruptcy for your business.
- Identify vulnerable areas. There are some areas that can render your website more vulnerable to hacking activity. These include:
- Your personal computers. Hackers can steal any saved data covering logins and passwords. A compromised computer can also allow hackers to use your credentials to gain access to online resources.
- Shared servers. If your website is hosted by a shared server, hackers can get your data if they are able to compromise the websites of those who also use your shared server.
- Applications and third party access. Any applications, platforms, widgets, plugins and other components you use that are not updated can be used as an entry point by hackers.
- Practice website safety best practices. You need to practice continued vigilance to protect your website. This includes:
- Strengthen access control. Provide everyone who has access to the system with user names and passwords. These passwords should not be passed on via e-mail to prevent hackers from getting hold of it online. Design your systems so that any logins automatically expire after a certain time of inactivity. You could also incorporate a two-step authentication process so that every time someone logs in from a new device or from an unfamiliar location, the user needs to input a verification code (that is usually sent to his mobile device).
- Using strong passwords. Yes, it should not be a combination of your name and birthdate. It should be something that will be stronger, using symbols, letters, numbers and capitalization. You can also use a password generator. Keep your passwords on a secure sever, using a protected document.
- Regularly changing your passwords. As a practice, you need to update your password at least quarterly – or even more often. But if someone (especially one from the IT team) has left your company, it will be wise to change the passwords upon his exit.
- Updating your software regularly. Software updates are not only designed to improve the software functionalities but also to manage and fix any vulnerability in the system. This is especially true for your web application firewall and security applications. In addition, remove any themes and plugins that you no longer use. The tendency is that you will be less vigilant in updating things that you no longer use.
- Assign a security manager or team. If you can, have someone from your staff who is in charge of regularly performing a web security audit. Remember, technologies change at a very fast pace and your website should keep up with the changes. Of course, you can also work with an Internet services company you can trust. This should be a company who keeps updated with the latest hacking threats and the tools to protect websites.
About Adaptivity Pro
When you consider website security, you should start with a Utah Web design company who can you a team of website programming experts who know the ins and outs of website security so that you can build a robust and hacking-resistant website. Of course, you still need to have someone to regularly perform a website security audit.
Aside from web design, Adaptivity Pro also offers SLC Search Engine Optimization, Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click Marketing and Social Media Marketing services.