Secure Your Website - Weak Password Example
  • 4 Strategies to Secure Your Website

The digital world is under increasing cyber threats. Your website’s security has never been more critical. This blog details 4 strategies to manage risk and best secure your website from attack.

The statistics are alarming —cybercriminals can breach and gain access to 93% of company networks. (Positive Technologies) And these cyber attacks are relentless, becoming both more sophisticated and costly, leaving many organizations high and dry, ill-prepared for the threats that lie ahead. What does your company need to do to avoid becoming a cybercrime target? In this blog, we’ll share 4 strategies you can implement immediately to protect your website.

What Is Website Security?

Website security is a strategy to protect against cybercrime, including:

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Unauthorized Access

When someone acquires access to your website, server, program, etc., by using someone else’s username, password, or other method.

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Hacking

Hacking takes unauthorized access one step further by intentionally compromising and misusing digital devices and networks to corrupt systems, steal data, gather user information, or disrupt data-related activity. While hacking is not always malicious, it is always illegal.

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Data Breaches

Unlike hacking’s intentional unauthorized access, data breaches typically occur by accident or due to human error or negligence. Sensitive, confidential, or protected data is left vulnerable in an unsecured environment and is copied, transmitted, or viewed by unauthorized people, resulting in data being left vulnerable in an unsecured environment and viewed by others who should not have access to the data.

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Phishing Attacks

Typically sent as emails, phishing attacks are messages that appear to come from a reputable source to lure someone into providing sensitive data, such as personally identifiable information, credit card, and banking details, and passwords.

Why is Website Security Important?

Protecting your website has always been essential to protecting your company and customers. But since the pandemic, cybercriminal activity has increased exponentially. The numbers don’t lie. In 2021, the FBI reported 847,376 complaints of suspected cybercrime. That’s nearly triple the number of complaints than five years ago. With those complaints come financial losses. In 2021, cybercrime cost the U.S. nearly $7 billion, $5.5 billion more than in 2017.

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To cybercriminals, no industry is left unscathed. Globally, while education and research organizations garner the highest number of weekly cyberattacks, the Year-on-Year increase of cyberattacks in many industries is disturbing. For example, Healthcare saw a 60% increase in attacks, Retail/Wholesale a 54% increase, and Manufacturing a 33% increase in attacks from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022.

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Source: Check Point

What Can You Do To Protect Your Website?

Let’s break down 4 key strategies you can take right now to provide immediate protection to your website (and your company and customers).

  • SSL Certification
  • Software and Plugin Updates
  • Multifactor Authentication
  • Firewalls

How Does SSL Certification Secure Your Website?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It’s a security protocol that creates an encrypted connection between a website and a browser. How? By ensuring safe online transactions by prohibiting cybercriminals from accessing, reading, or modifying any information transferred between the two systems. SSL certification enables sensitive data, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials to be transmitted securely and privately. Without SSL certification, any data sent between a website and a browser transmits in plain text — and that’s low-hanging fruit for a cybercriminal.

SSL certification not only delivers secure online transactions but is also an easy way to build trust and credibility with your customers. The padlock icon in a website’s address bar signifies that the site is SSL certified.

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Another benefit of SSL certification? Improved site speed. SSL provides one connection to transfer data, which speeds up site load times. Without SSL, customers have to wait for multiple messages to transfer, which slows site load times and opens the door for frustrated customers to leave your site. One last benefit? Improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings from faster loading times.

How Do Software and Plugin Updates Secure Your Website?

Both software, a website’s building blocks, and plugins, the software add-ons that customize a website, are critical for designing and developing an engaging web presence. With all technology, things evolve — software improves, and plugins get upgraded. While keeping abreast of updates is crucial for your site’s performance, it’s also vital for your site’s protection.

Cybercriminals are always looking for security holes and weak entry spots into your website. Outdated software and plugins can be chock full of these vulnerabilities, turning your website into a welcome mat for security threats. Software and plugin updates frequently include patches to cover up security holes and weak spots.

81% of hacking-related breaches used stolen and/or weak passwords.

How Does Multifactor Authentication Secure Your Website?

It’s proven time and time again that the traditional user ID and password logins can be easily compromised. In the past, two-factor authentication (2FA) became the commonly used extra layer of protection to grant access. For example, 2FA sends a unique one-time passcode (OTP) to the user’s smartphone after entering a username and password. Once the OTP is entered, access is granted. While this method of authentication is a significant improvement, 2FA doesn’t provide identity authentication. Instead, it provides device authentication, which, in the hands of a savvy cybercriminal, is relatively easy to hack.

The answer? Multifactor authentication (MFA). MFA significantly increases login security by requiring users to verify their identities through three possible ways before gaining access.

  • Knowledge (Something you know)
    Information only the user would know, such as answers to challenge questions or a password.
  • Possession (Something you have)
    A hardware device the user has, like a key fob, badge, or security token.
  • Inherence (Something you are)
    Biometric data, including facial recognition, fingerprints, voice recognition, or retina scanning.

How Do Firewalls Secure Your Website?

Firewalls are the first line of defense for websites, creating a barrier between an internal network and external traffic from the internet. How do they create the barrier? By tracking the incoming and outgoing traffic and using a set of defined security rules to filter traffic and block malicious traffic.

Firewalls are typically set up by your website hosting provider. They can be hardware, a physical piece of equipment, or software, installed on a computer via the cloud. As a website’s gatekeeper, firewalls are highly customizable and sophisticated, allowing you to define the parameters for individual user access, including remote access. And there are several different types of firewalls available, such as proxy service, stateful multi-layer inspection (SMLI), next-generation (NGFW), and Network address translation (NAT). What firewall your website needs depends on your site’s functionality, structure, network size, and level of security required. It’s techy stuff, so consult an expert to ensure the right fit. (Psst. We can help with this.)

What’s Next?

We don’t mean to scare you. Well, maybe we do a little. Cyber threats aren’t going away, and cybercriminals are getting smarter by the second. But, we can help you outsmart them and secure your website.

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WRITTEN BY

Lori lives by the mantra, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” As Director of Content and Client Strategy, Lori is the wordsmithing wind beneath many of our clients’ wings. Known for capturing our clients’ brand voices with compelling clarity and consistency, she also is a frequent Tuna blog contributor. Her work includes The 4 Realities of Post-COVID Marketing (And What Your Business Needs To Do About It), and 9 Tuna Traffic Truisms. When not perusing a thesaurus, Lori can be found adding more zing to her arrabbiata sauce or searching for an easier way to pill a cat.