Over the last few years, there have been many news stories covering website data breaches at major companies. Today, more than ever, consumers are very concerned about how businesses handle information that they share with them online. As a website owner, you are legally required to safeguard your website users’ personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Failure to do so can have serious legal and financial consequences for your company. Here are some tips for securing your website:
Keep Your Internal Passwords Safe
On the backend of your website, there are likely areas that are gated via password protection. These areas of your website are often gateways to your customer’s private information. Make sure that your staff takes extra precautions to keep any passwords you use internally safe. First, be sure that your passwords are strong, to begin with. Passwords should be complex and contain a mix up upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. Change passwords regularly and have security measures for sharing new passwords with key team members.
Encrypted Login Pages
Today, every website should be outfitted in an SSL encryption. This is especially important if you collect data from your users such as email addresses, contact information, and credit card data. With an SSL certificate, the information on any given page will be encrypted so that it is not “readable” to any outside party that may manage to get ahold of it. Most data breaches occur when websites don’t have proper encryptions in place securing their users’ information.
Take a Look at Your Host
You have many website hosting companies to choose from, so make sure that you take the time to select one that has a reputation for keeping their customer’s website secure. A good website host should have systems in place to identify and eradicate any threats to the server hosting your website data.
Purge Data Periodically
Too often, companies will keep unnecessary data in their databases. In many cases, this may include personal information for old customers. Unless you have a good reason for keeping this archived data, you should consider purging it at least once a year. Remember, every database or app on your website is another door that a hacker may be able to unlock. Maintaining a clean, streamlined structure to your website is one of the best ways to help fight off potential attacks.
In the event of a hack or data breach, be sure to take swift action to re-secure your website as quickly as possible. Next, you must notify your website users of the incident. It may be unpleasant; however, it is your responsibility to notify your customers if their data may have been compromised. The best way to avoid any serious repercussions from your data breach is to be completely forthcoming about the incident and notify your users as quickly as possible. Be prepared to let them know how you handled the breach and what you plan to do to safeguard their information moving forward. If done correctly, you can minimize the fallout and continue to keep your customers happy.