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Website Security: Why Is It Important and How to Improve It

How important is website security

We get to hear so many stories of websites being hacked, that it truly shows how vulnerable websites can be to cyber threats and cybercrimes. Almost all websites that are built are hackable and prone to attacks to a certain extent. In fact, cybersecurity has become an every-day issue that requires proper attention and maintenance.

With websites holding sensitive and crucial data, keeping your website secure in an online world has become more important than ever. If we could look at the statistics of website hacking in 2020, then they would look something like this:

  • A hacker attack takes place every 39 seconds.
  • 300,000 new malware is created every single day.
  • Hackers steal 75 records every second.
  • Nearly 66% of businesses that were attacked by hackers weren’t sure if they would recover.
  • There are nearly 715,000 cybersecurity experts employed in the US.
  • There will be nearly 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021.
  • Until March 2019, more than 14 billion data records have been lost or stolen.

The situation is quite sensitive by the looks of the statistics and this is why we need to understand the importance of cybersecurity in-depth.

Reasons Website Security is Important

We have a total of 4 reasons for you to consider the importance of website security.

1) Hacked Websites Become Dangerous for Customers

Once a website is infected with malicious software, it affects its data and resources. Now, a hacker that has gained access to a website can redirect the traffic and infect visitors with malicious software. This is a dangerous position to be in as not only your data is being compromised, your visitors are also facing the possibility of being affected with malware through your site.

Having your website compromised is one thing that is quite serious in itself, but having the data of your customers and visitors breached is a whole another ball game that places your business in a tough spot.

2) A Rapid Increase in Hacked Sites

The title is self-explanatory and has statistics above to support this claim. According to Security Magazine, there is an attack every 39 seconds on the web on average. Moreover, it is the unsecure passwords and usernames that allow attackers an easy way in.

According to Sucuri, a cloud-based firewall provider said that in 2019 a total of 170,827,313 attack attempts were blocked; which makes it a 52% increase from 2018.

3) Loss of Business and Reputation

A hacked website doesn’t stand a chance when it comes to gaining the trust of a customer/visitor. This leads to a loss of reputation and business reducing your revenue to a null; especially for eCommerce business, getting hacked is a major blow to its business along with its standing within the online marketplace.

Moreover, Google took special steps from July 2018 ensuring that every website that hasn’t acquired an SSL certificate to be marked unsecured and receives an SEO penalty. Search Engine Journal mentioned that Google in its efforts to remove hacked and compromised websites from the reach of the masses which can potentially cause a global infection and breach through transmittance of malware – detached and removed 80% of the hacked websites from its search results.

This goes to show that if you do not take precautionary security measures and secure your website along with the networks – you are bound to lose your credibility, reputation among the customers, and standing within the search engine.

So beware of the ‘Google Blacklist’ as once you are marked as ‘unsecure for visit’, your potential customers and visitors won’t be able to interact and avail your services offered and you will lose 95% of organic traffic.

4) Securing and Cleaning Your Website is Expensive Compared to Protection

Better be safe than sorry? We can tell you from the get-go unless you as a website manager or owner who has expertise in the area of cybersecurity to have it done from a professional(s). However, the services of a website-malware-cleanup will be more expensive than availing services for protecting it and establishing security. Moreover, depending on the level of expertise you hire, you wouldn’t be sure if your website has truly been cleaned from all malware and infections.

It Is not just the clean-up service cost that will be high but also the loss of revenue and important files that would prove to a big blow to your business’s overall structure.

Now that we are aware of the utter need for cybersecurity and data protection, let us dive into how we can improve it.

How to Improve the Security of Your Website?

 Let’s break it down to 7 easy steps.

1)Install SSL

Acquire an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is the first thing you should do for your website. Gone are the days when an SSL certificate was a luxury, it has become a necessity without which a website cannot stand.

SSL protects data by encrypting every bit of information. Secondly, it adds authentication to your website. With so many deceptive websites on the internet, SSL gives your website a verification tag that allows imposters to steer clear from hurting your reputation and customers. Thirdly, Google gives preferences to HTTPS-enabled websites and this helps them rank better. Fourthly, SSL instills trust within visitors that any information they provide to this website will be secure and safe.

2) Practice a Strong Password Policy

So far we discussed how weak passwords enable hackers to easily gain access to user accounts and ultimately the website. Hence, it is highly advised that you use strong passwords. Hackers have progressed in their techniques and attack with the progression of technology. They also make use of sophisticated software to crack the passwords using brute force.

It is best to have a small snippet popping up with advice on how to create a strong password. Include a mix of upper and lower case letters, along with numerals and special characters and at least 10 characters long. Make this your password policy and do not accept weak passwords.

3) Keep Your Website Up-to-date

It is important to have your website built by a reliable software development company, as they would make sure to remove any loopholes or gateways of vulnerabilities for hackers to find their way in. Considering that hackers are aggressively seeking security patch flaws for their attack, once your website is built, maintained, and updated by a team of experts – you would have nothing to worry about.

4) Maintain Regular Backups

Conducting frequent backups cannot be stressed enough. Imagine taking a cyberattack and losing the majority and most crucial of your data and files. Recovering them without having a decent backup is one hassle you do not want to dive into. Your web host should provide backups of their own servers, yet you are still asked to back up your files regularly.

5) Have a Solid Anti-Malware Software

Apart from backing up your files regularly, you should also perform scans to check for any vulnerabilities on the website and server. Now, for this, you have online tools available for free that make it easy for you to judge the security health of your website. Other than that, you should schedule them for frequent scans, especially after an update.

In Conclusion,

For small-scale websites that do not have any crucial data stored can argue the importance of hiring security experts for their website. It is important to understand that cyberattack doesn’t necessarily translate into stolen money or data theft; a cyberattack could result in your website losing a tremendous amount of traffic, leaving your website as good as a dummy and dysfunctional site.

This is why it is important to take security measures before you have to go through the experience of losing your website entirely.

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Muniza Ashraf

Muniza Ashraf is a software engineer turned technical writer with extensive experience in various niches, especially all-things-tech-related. If she isn’t writing, she is researching to bring information in the best way possible. Currently, she is associated with KoderLabs, a custom software development company in Dallas.

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