With that many websites being infected, there’s a good chance that yours might be next. So, what can you do to protect your website from an infection or breach?
Most companies are infected or breached due to retroactive security plans that respond only after an attack has occurred.
Instead of waiting until something “bad” occurs, there are some things you can to protect your website. Today, we’ll discuss six ways you can create a proactive web security plan.
1. Keep Everything Updated
Whatever Content Management System (CMS) you are using, make sure you are keeping it up-to-date. As you can see in the screenshot above, the CMS is not secure as the server is running an older version of PHP.
And you need to update everything – software, plugins, themes, CMS.
Most software already has built-in alerts to make sure you don’t forget when a new update is released (see screenshot above). These updates generally protect you from newer, zero-day exploits and coding errors that need to be corrected.
Not taking the time to update everything can leave you vulnerable. While updates do take time, they don’t take near as much time as recovering from an attack and/or breach.
2. Train Your Employees
Most companies a cybersecurity expert and/or team to handle their security needs. But one of the most frustrating things for cybersecurity experts is the lack of training provided to the employees of the company.
Most cybersecurity issues could be prevented with proper employee training.
In being proactive, you should train your employees on password safety and strength, only clicking on links you recognize, not using outside storage devices, and even using protected messaging systems.
No one should be using “abc123” for their password, and yet it’s still one of the most popular password choices because it’s easy to remember.
It’s 2019, you should be able to tell if a link is suspicious or not. And yet, people still “accidentally” click on the virus-laden link.
While USB drives are convenient, they can be infected with malware from another source.
Whenever communicating with other employees, you should be using some type of internal messaging application that uses encryption to protect your sensitive information (consider it all sensitive).
3. Use A Firewall
Many companies don’t have an active firewall in place to protect from malicious attacks such as a DDoS attack.
A DDoS attack can completely render your website inoperable. But a Web Application Firewall (WAF) can protect you from much more than just DDoS attacks. A WAF can protect you from:
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Hidden Field Manipulation
The right firewall can do a lot to keep you safe from common attacks. Plus, a good firewall will alert you to continually attempts to breach your website so that you can make adjustments if necessary.
4. Hire A Data Protection Officer
Businesses that are part of the European Union (EU) are required to maintain full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law. As such, all businesses that collect, manage, and/or store customer data is required to hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
A DPO keeps up with all the GDPR laws, regulations, and rules. If anything changes, it is their responsibility to make sure you are aware of the changes and help you to stay in full compliance.
The DPO must routinely perform risk assessment tests on your business and stay up-to-date on all cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Plus, they have to make sure that all your software is current, activated, and protected from any new zero-day exploits.
Most companies opt to hire an outsourced DPO to comply with the GDPR requirements. It is the easiest path and the fastest way to maintain full GDPR compliance. Not to mention, it’s much more affordable than hiring a full-time employee and/or staff to keep up with all the regulations, laws, and/or requirements.
5. Always Have A Backup
Most companies don’t realize the importance of having a backup until it is too late. Even worse, some don’t perform backups of their data and/or websites at all.
In the event that your website and/or business was attacked, a backup can restore full functionality quickly. In most cases, a backup can revert any major changes in a few hours.
Without a backup, it could be days, weeks, and even months before everything could be restored properly.
A backup is generally your last-ditch effort to recover from an attack or breach. And while backups can seem burdensome, they’ll be worth their “weight in gold” if you ever need them.
There are plenty of automatic backup tools that you can use that will automate this process for you. There is no reason why you should not be backing up your daily records and/or website.
Backups aren’t glamorous – they are boring. But when you need them, they’re the best thing you’ve ever done – unless you didn’t.
6. Use A VPN At All Times
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a service that protects you by encapsulating your data through a secured connection using a remote server.
In most cases, a VPN is used to protect remote employees while using a public network such as a free connection from Starbucks or McDonalds.
The VPN encrypts your data and routes it through a secured tunnel where no one else can snoop on your traffic. In most cases, your ISP can’t even see what you are doing.
A VPN is a great way to protect your company from accidental leaks and/or breaches from certain network attacks like man-in-the-middle attacks. Remember, make sure your employees are trained properly and understand the importance of using a VPN connection (see # 2).
Hackers aren’t going to stop trying to penetrate web servers and content management systems, but you can make it more difficult on them by incorporating a proactive security plan.
Using the information provided here, you should be able to slow down and/or prevent attacks from occurring. And if not, you SHOULD have a recent backup to help get back up-and-running fast.
Your cybersecurity plan go no longer be retroactive – it has to be proactive.