Guard the walls, protect your people

Written July 17, 2019 • Steve Perry

There are currently almost 2 billion websites worldwide with no sign of this slowing down. And it has never been easier to make one, which allows for every group ranging from obscure communities to international corporations to create a presence online. Whilst this is a great thing, their prevalence, and various levels of quality and robustness, also means lots of opportunities for hackers.

Many of these websites process sensitive data, including financial transactions. It is estimated that £67 billion are spent on ecommerce websites in the UK, which is a huge problem if those websites are not adequately protected.

How do I reduce the risk of a breach?

In short: Pick a pro. Not only do off-the-shelf themes look unoriginal, but they can often be weak and vulnerable, which makes them easy targets for hackers. It is also unlikely you’ll receive any technical support and updates may well be problematic. It is not uncommon to find website templates and plugins with vulnerabilities, embedded malware, and backdoors built in.

Fortunately, you can take steps to minimise risks to your customers, such as:

  • Ensuring your site build is built to the highest standard you can afford
  • If your website is being managed in-house, make sure that the employee handling it has sufficient training (ie. knows how to use firewalls, anti-virus software, and check for vulnerabilities)
  • Use encryption tools where sensitive data is collected or stored
  • Listen to the advice of a professional who specialises in website security
  • Check security regularly, ensuring all necessary updates are carried out
  • Follow these website security fundamentals

These are just some quick tips to get you started, but the main take home here is that ongoing website maintenance should not be neglected. Even if you did everything right in the run up to launching your website, if you are not staying on top of your updates and ensuring security is monitored, your website is at risk of attack. It is certainly more economical to prevent, rather than attempt to fix, a problem following a breach.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to do this yourself, website maintenance packages are a great option. My Zenplan website maintenance package helps to reduce the risk of a breach as it involves regular updates, which makes it harder for hackers to gain access to the website through vulnerable spots (which are often outdated plugins). These maintenance packages can also include routine security scans and monitoring of the website, ensuring potential concerns are flagged as early as possible, as well as breach insurance of up to £50,000.

The FGX-Web security package also offers a specialist security service using Foregenix FGX-Web technology which is delivered by the Foregenix Threat Intelligence Team. The team is made up of website security threat analysts who are experts at reducing data breach risks for their customers.

Websites are incredible tools to help businesses grow by driving both sales and leads, in addition to offering a branded platform to publish engaging content and showcase work, products or services. A 2017 report also revealed that businesses who invest in a website are 51% more likely to grow. Employing the skills of a website specialist can help you manage your business’ online presence, protect your customers and help to encourage further growth.

If you require any more information, or would like to enquire about website maintenance packages, feel free to send me an email at ideas@steveperrycreative.com, call on 01782 954282, or follow me on social media for bite-sized updates on Twitter @stevemarkperry.