Don’t Be a Target: Website Security Tips for Small Business Owners

12 Best Chrome Extensions For Website Security
12 Best Chrome Extensions For Website Security
January 23, 2023
best website security for small business

Cybersecurity is essential for small business owners who want to protect their customers, employees, and investments in the digital business world. 

Unfortunately, small businesses are increasingly becoming targets of cyber attacks. 

According to a recent study conducted by Cybint Solutions, 43% of all cyber attacks were aimed at small businesses. 

As a result, small business owners need to be aware of potential security risks and take the necessary steps to ensure their online safety.

This article will provide several website security tips for small business owners to prevent becoming an easy target for malicious attackers.

What is Website Security?

Website security is a key concern for small business owners. 

It is crucial to ensure that customer data and other sensitive information remains secure from cyberattacks or hackers. 

As such, website security protects websites, web applications, and databases from malicious attacks. 

This can include using encryption technologies to protect data in transit, deploying firewalls to filter incoming traffic, and installing malware scanners to check for malicious code. 

Other measures may include two-factor authentication, regular backups of website files, and training staff on safe password practices.

What are the Benefits of Website Security?

As a small business entrepreneur, website security should rank high on the list of priorities. 

A secure website not only helps protect your customers’ data and keeps you from becoming a target for cybercriminals, but it can also provide other benefits as well. 

a). Build trust

First, protecting your website with strong security measures can help build trust in your online presence. 

Potential customers are more likely to purchase from websites with visible signs of protection like HTTPS encryption and privacy policies. 

This assurance helps drive more organic traffic to your site and builds brand loyalty with current customers. 

b). Creates peace of mind

Maintaining a secure website creates peace of mind for business owners and their employees who rely on the web for everyday operations such as handling payments or collecting customer information. 

With the right security measures in place, you can rest assured that any data collected or stored on your website is kept safe from cyber threats.

c). Helps with rankings

Having a secure website helps to improve search engine rankings and overall visibility online. 

Search engines prioritize websites with strong HTTPS connections over those without them, leading to higher placement within their results pages for customers looking for businesses like yours. 

This improved visibility will help bring more organic traffic directly to your site – resulting in increased sales opportunities!

Types of Website Security for Small Businesses

Now that you know what’s in store for you, let’s look at some of the best website security for small businesses.

a. Firewall

Firewalls are one of the most essential tools for website security, and all small business owners should understand what they are and how they work. 

A firewall is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. 

It acts as a barrier between your computer network and outside connections that could potentially be malicious.

When an incoming connection attempts to connect with your network, the firewall will scan it for any suspicious activity that could indicate malware or other threats. 

The connection will be blocked if anything is detected before it can harm your computer systems or confidential data. 

Firewalls provide an extra layer of protection by monitoring outgoing traffic as well, which helps prevent hackers from gaining access to sensitive information stored on your computer systems. 

b. Antivirus Software

What is Antivirus Software? 

This is a computer program designed to detect, prevent, and remove malicious software or malware from a computer.

Antivirus software scans files and programs on a computer for known viruses and other types of malware. 

If it finds something suspicious, it will either quarantine the file or delete it, depending on the severity of the threat. 

The program also has options to update itself regularly to identify new threats quickly. 

And some antivirus programs have additional features such as firewalls and anti-spam capabilities to help protect against online threats as well. 

 

c. SSL Encryption

Encryption is an essential element of website security for small business owners. 

SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, creates a secure communication channel between a web browser and a web server. 

It is so secure that data passed between the two locations is encrypted, meaning it cannot be read or understood by anyone other than the intended recipient. 

To understand how SSL encryption works, consider an example where someone visits your website. 

When their browser connects to your web server, an encrypted connection is established using complex algorithms. 

This allows for data such as credit card numbers or personal information to be securely transmitted from the user’s device to your servers without being compromised. 

Ultimately, this means that customers can confidently make purchases through your website, knowing their information will remain secure and private. 

There’s something else.

There are different types of SSL: 

  • Domain Validated SSL: This is the most basic type of SSL certificate, and it provides a secure connection between your web server and the customer’s browser. It does not require any additional validation by you or an external third-party provider; instead, simply verifying that you own the domain name in question will suffice to obtain this type of certification. 
  • Organization/Business Validation (OV)SSL Certificate: With OV certificates, customers must provide valid business documentation prior to being issued their certifications – such as tax ID numbers or incorporation documents – which can be used for further authentication purposes if needed down the line 
  • Extended Validation (EV): EV certs are typically considered more robust than other types since they involve extensive vetting processes conducted by Certification Authorities who verify both organizational identity data along with contact information associated with said organization before issuing them out. 

With a wide range of SSL types, understand which one is best suited for your business needs. 

Regardless of your type, they all provide an excellent layer of protection and peace of mind that customer data remains secure at all times while browsing or making purchases on your website.

 

d. HTTPS

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is another essential security feature for small business websites. 

Like SSL, HTTPS is an encrypted connection between a website and a web browser, ensuring that all data transmitted between them remains secure and private. 

It also validates the website’s identity to ensure visitors aren’t being sent to malicious sites by mistake. 

In order for HTTPS to work, the website must have an SSL certificate installed on its server. 

This certificate encrypts communications between the user and the site, making it impossible for someone else to intercept or decipher any of the data. 

When a website uses HTTPS, visitors will see a padlock icon in their browser window as well as “https://” at the beginning of the URL instead of just “http://.” 

This indicates that their connection is secure and safe from eavesdropping. 

Again, you need an SSL to enable this security feature.

e. Password Protection

This type of cybersecurity measure is used to protect confidential data and limit computer systems and network access. 

Unlike the other security types we’ve looked at, this one requires valid user credentials, such as a password or PIN code, for users to gain access. 

The system must be configured with the appropriate settings to use password protection. 

Generally speaking, this includes;

  • setting up an account with a unique username and password information
  • setting expiration dates for passwords 
  • or requiring users to change their passwords periodically to maintain security within the system. 

Once these parameters are set up, only those who have been granted permission can access the protected files and data.

All others will receive an authentication error message when attempting access without the correct credentials. 

Steps to Improve Small Business Website Security

How can you get these website security measures to work for you?

That’s what we are looking at in this section.

a. Regularly Update Software

As technology advances, it’s essential to keep up with the latest software updates to maintain a secure website. 

You see, outdated software can contain security vulnerabilities that hackers can easily exploit. 

Regular updates are vital for keeping your site safe from malicious actors even if you don’t think your website is a target.

Software providers typically release patches or updates when issues or vulnerabilities are found, so it’s CRUCIAL to stay on top of these releases. 

If possible, enable automatic update notifications and install them as soon as they are available. 

Failing to do so could leave your site vulnerable and open to attack. 

You should also check for any plugins or themes that need regularly updating to ensure the highest level of security for your website and business data. 

If you are using WordPress CMS to power your website, consider turning on auto-updates for both plugins and the theme.

This way, you won’t have to manually check recent updates.

b. Use Strong Passwords

Having a secure password is an essential aspect of website security for small business owners.

Actually, this is the first line of defense against unauthorized access.

As such, antivirus software and firewalls should be treated with the same level of importance. 

To protect your information from cyber criminals, create strong passwords that include both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. 

When selecting a new password, avoid using words or phrases that are associated with your business or personal life, such as family names or birthdates. 

Above all, choose different passwords for each website you access and make sure to change them regularly.

If you have many accounts, a password manager will come in handy.

Personally, I use LastPass to store my passwords. It is secure and convenient!

And whenever possible, use two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of protection between your account and hackers. 

c. Consider a Periodic Vulnerability Scan

Like the earlier updates, your website can develop issues when you are not looking.

How do you keep tabs on them?

A vulnerability scan is an automated process that scans the website for known vulnerabilities and potential weaknesses in the system, such as software flaws or improper configurations. 

During such a scan, the scanner will attempt to exploit any found weaknesses and report details on any issues discovered, which developers can then address. 

This practice can help protect businesses from malicious attacks by identifying weak points that could be exploited before hackers take advantage of. 

In addition to performing regular vulnerability scans, small business owners should also stay up-to-date with current security news and developments.

This is so you can take additional proactive steps toward protecting their websites from any new threats or techniques utilized by attackers. 

d. Use a Web Application Firewall

We’ve already introduced what a firewall is.

A WAF is designed to detect and block malicious traffic, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection attacks, and other malicious activities. 

It can also help protect against data breaches and other security issues. 

In fact, WAFs often have additional features such as intrusion prevention, malware scanning, and content filtering that provide an additional layer of security. 

And there are types of WAFs available for both cloud and on-premise solutions.

  • Cloud-based WAFs are typically hosted by a third-party and managed on the cloud. They provide an extra layer of protection for applications running in public clouds such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • On-premise solutions are installed directly onto your own servers. This type of solution is ideal if you need more control over security policies or want to customize settings specific to your needs.

When choosing a WAF solution for your website, it’s important to consider factors such as scalability, cost-effectiveness, resource availability, and ease of use. 

e. Monitor Your Website

Like scanning, monitoring your website is important to maintaining security and preventing malicious actors from exploiting your business. 

It can be done in a variety of ways, both manual and automated. 

Manual monitoring requires the owner to actively check their website on a regular basis for any changes or suspicious activities. 

This includes checking the content, functionality, and access logs for any irregularities or signs of attempted hacking attempts. 

Automated monitoring can also be used to detect potential threats. 

Web hosts typically offer automated services that will scan websites for known vulnerabilities and malicious attacks. 

These services are especially beneficial for those who don’t have the time or resources to monitor their websites regularly manually. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, small business owners should take website security seriously. 

The most important steps to secure a website include regular software updates, setting up firewalls and encryption protocols, monitoring login attempts and malicious traffic, using strong passwords and limiting access privileges, installing plugins or modules from trusted sources, and backing up data regularly. 

All these measures can help small businesses keep their websites safe from cyber threats.

As we looked at, the benefits of securing a website are numerous. 

  • Securing a website helps protect confidential information stored on the server; 
  • it reduces the risk of exposing customer data due to hacking or malware attacks; 
  • it prevents disruption of service due to DDoS attacks; 
  • it ensures that customers have a positive user experience when browsing the site; finally, 
  • it helps protect the business’s reputation by ensuring its customers’ trust in its services. 

 

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