Your website, whether it’s a personal blog or an online store, holds a great deal of important information – account credentials, bank information, private media, direct messages, etcetera. In the wrong hands, this information can be used maliciously. Unfortunately, many of today’s website owners are unaware of the cybersecurity threats that exist, much less technically capable of securing or fixing the site themselves. Here are five tech tips to keep your site safe from hackers and their malicious software.

Use SSL

Abbreviated for Secure Socket Layer, an SSL certificate encrypts any information that is passed between the website and its visitors. There are different tiers or layers of SSL, and what type of site you’re running will decide what layer you should be using. For example, an online store that processes payment information should use more rigorous SSL encryption. Installing an SSL certificate for your website is perhaps the easiest measure you can take to safeguard your website, yourself, and your visitor’s personal information. Today, search engines including Google issue an alert every time you visit a site that is not SSL encrypted, and favorably treats sites that are.

Use Endpoint Security

Endpoint security solutions, as the name implies, involve securing two points of connection. Endpoints are essentially access points to a network, which is what hackers and their malware attempt to exploit to gain backdoor access and control of an enterprise network. Endpoint security solutions safeguard these entry points by flagging any malicious activity, managing end user access, and creating comprehensive reports. When choosing an endpoint security provider, you’ll want to first understand what your business needs in terms of capacity, scalability, market sector, and work policies if any. Your budget will also play a major factor in your final decision.

Encourage Strong Passwords

Hackers have become more dangerous with their brute force tools that can crack open accounts in a few hours. Even if you manage to fix every security flaw that your website has, it can still be attacked with the right user account. Enforcing a robust password policy can help safeguard against brute force attacks. A password that contains both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters will be harder to crack even with the most sophisticated brute force tools. This password policy should be enforced both for your users and employees.

Purge Your Website of Any Unneeded Data

Hackers can gain access to your website via different entry points, from your database to any third-party plugins installed. Purge your site of any files or applications that you no longer need. In addition, keep the data organized so you can easily monitor for any changes that were unauthorized or files that should be deleted. Deleting unnecessary files not only help keep your website safe, but it can also lower your server and database costs. Important data should be backed up to a remote server in case you lose access to your site or your data is compromised. Make it a point to back your data up regularly. This task can be automated and scheduled every few weeks or months, making it much easier to maintain crucial data backups.

Use a Reliable Website Host

Your website’s hosting provider might not be investing enough money on security. Many discount hosting providers forego security best practices in lieu of the short-term savings. As a result, the websites under their management do not have access restrictions, DDoS prevention, SSL and firewall protection, malware detection and removal, 24/7 networking monitoring, and other tools and features that help keep your site protected. Ask your existing or prospective hosting provider what steps they are doing to ensure the safety of your website and the data attached to it.

There are more steps beyond the five aforementioned in this article. Regular website scans for vulnerabilities, hiring a network security expert, automatically updating your software, and encrypting login pages are other simple but powerful safety measures for your website. Knowing what vulnerabilities and types of hacks exist out there are also good proactive measures you can take as a website owner. By knowing where an attack might be coming from, you can anticipate and execute the right cybersecurity measures to protect your website.

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