With a greater reliance on using technology to manage our personal information, there is a greater emphasis on cybersecurity for protecting that information. It seems like reports of large-scale breaches come out every few news cycles. Some of the big ones, just this year, include the likes of Verizon, Equifax, Yahoo!, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Even Chipotle fell victim to a hack.
It’s enough to make even the most confident people feel vulnerable.
And if you have an online presence you’re trying to develop through your website, email, and/or social media, then you need to be extra careful. No matter how big or how small, your digital presence could easily become a target.
Search engines and web browsers are even getting more into the security game. Site security and encryption is now a ranking factor for search engines. And browsers are starting to kick out “Not Secure” warnings on websites without an SSL certificate.
Why Being Proactive About Cybersecurity is Important
One of the bigger security concerns has to do with protecting your website from malware and phishing. Poor website security leads to cracks for malicious users who get in and leave things like viruses and other malicious tools. Sometimes these activities can even lead to using your site (even unbeknownst to you) for phishing activity to capture sensitive information. A hack on your website can damage your reputation with your visitors, search engines, and other web services.
Another major area of concern has to do with protecting your email from hacks. A hacked email account can expose more of your personal information contained in various emails. It can also result in someone using your account to send out malicious spam emails. Those emails are often used for phishing purposes or delivering viruses to unsuspecting recipients. A compromised email account could be dangerous for you and for many others.
A third, and potentially greater, area of concern has to do with protecting your other personal information and accounts. Chances are, the password you use for your website and email accounts are the same or very similar to the passwords you use for other online accounts. If a hacker can figure out your email password, and see that you do your online banking at a certain bank, then they may have everything they need to log into your bank account. Basically, getting into one of your accounts may provide easy access to everything else you do. And that could be bad news for you.
What We Do For You To Maintain Website Security
Maintenance is everything. One of the reasons our BASIC (and higher) Hosting plans are so popular is because the maintenance we do keeps websites running smooth and secure. We run WordPress, theme, and plugin updates on each site several times throughout the week. And we perform database cleanup and optimization. Many of the updates include regular bug fixes and security patches.
Server-level security monitoring. Our data center team monitors potential issues 24/7/365. Aside from maintaining server uptime, we constantly monitor any malicious activity. If/when something is spotted, we take corrective action almost immediately. This level of monitoring minimizes the impact in the event a user account gets compromised.
Site-level security monitoring. Also as part of our BASIC (and higher) Hosting, we monitor potential in-site security issues. Using tools like Wordfence Security, we regularly scan for any malicious and unusual files on the website. We take immediate corrective action and remove any potential threat we find.
Security-Related Services You Should Consider
Domain name privacy. Most people don’t realize that your ownership information on your domain name registration is public. That means anyone can look up a website owner’s name, address, and phone number. That is unless you have Domain Privacy on your domain name. It’s well worth the $7.99/yr cost to hide your personal registration information. This not only limits the volume of spam coming your way, but it also limits the amount of information people can find on you.
SSL certificates. Security certificates encrypt information when passed between visitors and your website. Without this kind of encryption, even simple contact form information can be intercepted and read by people with malicious intent. Visitors can have confidence that their personal information is safe on a website when they see the HTTPS (the “s” for secure) and the green padlock in their browser address bar. A basic SSL Certificate can be purchased for as little as $27/yr, and is even included in some hosting plans.
Your Responsibility for Protecting Your Website
Change your password regularly. The more often you can change your passwords, the better. Ideally, you should change them (at least) every 60-90 days. If a password does get compromised, then it won’t be effective for very long. But if you use the same passwords for everything for years, then it opens you up to other attacks. Getting comfortable with a password is one of the worst things you can do.
Use strong password formats. The best format for a strong password is a random string of unrelated letters, numbers, and characters. But that doesn’t usually help your ability to remember your password. Alternatively, you can try using a combination of two unrelated words, a number, and throw in a special character or two. Your goal is to provide as much of an unknown scramble as possible.
Use different passwords for your various accounts. Do you use the same password for everything? If so, then one compromised password means that you’ve opened the door to all of your accounts. At minimum use different passwords for the accounts you most need to protect (like your banking, etc).
Website security is bigger than just keeping hackers out of your website. You need a cybersecurity plan to protect your website, email, and all of your other online accounts. Taking a few simple steps and having the right tools in place can protect you and your website visitors from all kinds of malicious activity. And you will be able to sleep well at night not worrying about all of the latest cybersecurity craziness in the news.
Dan is the creative and technical genius behind Fistbump Media. His uncanny wisdom and online prowess is the stuff of legend. When he’s not leading incredible growth around here, he’s loving on his wife of 19+ years, and five kids (two biological, three adopted).