Security Matters: Protecting Your Business Website and Customer Data

Security Matters: Protecting Your Business Website and Customer Data

When it comes to website security, there are many factors to consider. Everything from the hosting platform you choose to the platform you run it on, and even the passwords you use. In this article, I will discuss the three main areas you should consider to optimize the security of your business’s website and your customers’ data.

Choose a Quality Host

Choosing a website host is the first step to creating not only a great website but also a secure one. Unfortunately, many businesses go for the cheapest option to save a few bucks and there are many hosting companies offering their services at a low cost.

However, to get the most bang for your buck [and the most support and resources], for your business’s website needs, look for a quality hosting company instead. Here are some features to look for with your purchase of hosting plan:

  • Dedicated hosting (not shared hosting)
  • Unlimited backups
  • SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
  • +99% uptime
  • Great customer support reviews
  • cPanel Control Panel Industry standard

You get what you pay for. Make sure that your hosting can grow when your business does. A few hosting platforms we love and recommend are Siteground and Flywheel.

Choose a Strong Passwords

When it comes to your business, there may be upwards of 10-15 different accounts you interact with on a daily basis. These might include your website log-in, hosting log-in, payment merchant, email accounts, etc.

When it’s time to choose a password, you’ll want it to be strong to fend off hackers. You’ve likely heard that it needs to contain 6-8 characters, a number, uppercase and lowercase letters, a number and sometimes, a special character.

But have you ever wondered why?

Ryan Reynolds "but why" gif

A company called Hive Systems have conducted research on how long it takes for a hacker to brute force your log in credentials.

Brute force is a technique where a hacker will try various combinations of usernames and passwords, either through a database of the mostly commonly used passwords or by a program that will try endless varieties until it finds the correct one.

This infographic shows just how quickly a hacker can get your password in 2023.

Chart of how quickly a hacker can brute force your password in 2023.

Something else to consider is the usernames assigned to the administrator accounts associated with your website. WordPress, the host we at Hometown Web Design use, used to default to Admin as the username. It shouldn’t allow this anymore, but many still opt for this username for its simplicity, but it is the most easily hacked username. We recommend creating a unique username for the administator’s account–the one which handles the website’s theme, plug ins and third-party integrations–and then create a secondary account to manage post content. This way, the content of the website is much more secure and there’s less chance of security breach.

Keep Your Website Up to Date

Keeping your website updated with the latest software is an important element in keeping it secure.

A common misconception I hear from many people is that their website doesn’t need to be updated. But backing up the content as well as updating to the latest version of any installed plug ins when they become available is essential.

It’s the same as taking your car to the mechanic. Updating your plugins and theme will often strengthen your websites security, close security vulnerabilities and increase performance. This also includes deleting out-of-date disabled plug ins: this can be a foothold for hackers and can often make your website run slower, so go ahead and delete them.

In conclusion, optimizing website security entails choosing a reputable hosting provider, employing strong passwords and unique usernames, and consistently updating software, plugins, and themes to create a secure digital environment for businesses and protect customer data.

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