So, you have recently opened a start-up business and the biggest concern is how to secure data for your website? Data security is not just a thing to note down and file in a safe place. instead you must take every possible action to protect user information on your network.
This is not a concern for start-up only rather for any business that handles customer information. For example: name, date of birth, address, email etc. If you take payments directly on your website and store credit card or bank details, then you need to be extras cautious.
I would suggest for someone who is just starting up should begin with third party providers for following reasons:
- It becomes their responsibility to keep customers payment details safe
- The transactions are monitored and backed by guarantee in most cases for providers i.e. PayPal, Stripe
- Customers recognize the brands they already know, have heard of, seen and used before
- Install SSL, this will ensure that your website has security layer to encrypt user data through https
- Encrypt data locally for backup copies and on server
- Use security plugins or software’s to protect live user data during transactions i.e.
- Install anti spam plugins for registration, comments, lost password pages i.e. reCaptcha offered by Google or Akismet anti spam
- Use strong passwords that are combination of letters, numbers, symbols
- Update plugins on your website regularly
Now that we understand the basics to secure data on your website, let’s take a look further into it.
We have outlined top 7 ways you can protect data.
#1 Allow access to site administrators only
This is the first step in minding the security of your business. You should not allow administrative access to everyone who signs up to your website. If you have a website that offers products, you can choose the default role as customer for new signups. If you own a blog like us, you can choose default access level to be a contributor. This will straight away secure data for your website. Since the users will not be able to access the back-end panel, they will not be able to play with settings, structure and change them.
#2 Strong passwords to protect data
Having strong passwords that consists of letters (uppercase and lowercase), numbers and symbols are hard to guess. There are many ways you can check password strength. We ran a password strength test on Kaspersky and achieved the below results.
This will ensure that the your website password is not easy to crack. Keeping the intruders away may not be possible, especially if you are a growing brand. However, you can certainly make sure that you are putting things in place to secure data. According to P1Technology 2FA (two factor authentication) can add extra layer of security to your interactions.
#3 Install SSL for added security layer
Installing secure sockets layer or simpler term SSL may not be easy to install for some of us. However, the benefits are tangible and long term.
SSL basically adds a security lock next to your websites name.
It helps search engines like Google understand that your website is secure. Additionally, it puts your visitors at ease as well. It is absolutely optional at the present moment. However, I would strongly recommend to have it installed considering you can get one for free.
#4 Encrypt Data offline and servers
Data security and encryption go hand in hand. Once you have data security in place, you will need to ensure that any offline backup copies on your computer are encrypted. Encrypted data makes it hard to be accessible for normal users and hackers. There are many programs for all type of operating systems i.e. windows, mac. You can simply search in Google for secure your data offline and choose the best based on features and price. Techradar has a list of best encryption software to help you secure data.
Server side security is the responsibility of your hosting provider. You should check your providers terms and conditions that will outline how they protect your data stored on their servers.
#5 Force user log out for inactive session
This is a most common practice amongst banks and payment processing facilities. You may have noticed this before that after being inactive on your bank’s website, they will log out your session automatically. Similarly, if you are a PayPal user you may have noticed that they will also log out your session after a few minutes of inactivity. This is considered to be one of the best strategies to secure data.
Now, you can apply the same principle on your WordPress website.
Thinking of taking a break away from your computer? Your website may have users who may forget at times to log out of their session, before or after a transaction. You can simply install a plugin that can take care of that part for you. Simply choose the idle time out and you are all set.
#6 Lock account for failed attempts
One of the best ways to secure data is to lock account after a user had multiple failed attempts. Not only this will safeguard the whole website from intruders but also protect individual user account. This can be simply achieved by installing a standalone plugin or part of a security plugin. Either way the end goal is same and that is data security.
You could have a message or form to fill out after the user is locked out. The another approach some businesses use are allow users to attempt again after a few hours. I guess it depends on the type of data you are dealing with on your website.
#7 Monitor and check website regularly
This is a no brainier that you should monitor and check your website regularly to secure data.
Here are some common things you can look out for:
- Any available updates are installed for plugins, themes and core systems
- Check for user behaviour for inconsistencies i.e. spam comments, irregular logins
- Broken links to posts, images, products and pages
- Subscriptions for security plugins or software’s are up to date
- Your site administrator is aware of latest security trends
- Check media for any website security updates
As you can see it is important to secure data in every way possible to prevent damage to your brand reputation. Not only it can cause damage to your business name but also; financial loss, loss of trust and legal proceedings.
We have discussed 7 possible ways of securing your website data. Let us know, if we missed anything in the comments section below.