Here are five security checks that are necessary to secure your website from cyber-attacks while it is in the development phase – Better safe than sorry.
It is common for developers to pay attention to the design and functionality of a website. However, security is one of the foremost concerns while developing a website. A secure website is quite crucial to make sure that you can hold on to your clients.
The menace of hackers is constantly increasing, which makes web security the need of the hour. In this article, we will discuss five security checks that are necessary to secure your website from cyber-attacks. We trust that we are already aware of the importance of website security.
Instead, we will focus on the security checks that you must perform while putting your website together. Hiring professional web development services can automatically take care of most website security requirements. But if you prefer to do it manually, you can follow these steps.
Choose a Secure Web Hosting Service
Choosing a professional and secure web hosting server is one of the first steps to secure your website. You cannot have a safe website if the hosting service provider does not have well-managed infrastructure and services. That is why you should always compare your options before choosing a web host for your website.
Make sure you understand how well these web hosting services perform against hackers and cyber threats. You can also find out what tools they offer to protect your website and its information. Even though it may not be possible for anyone to guarantee 100% security, you can expect the following security aspects from a web hosting service provider:
- A secure Operating System (OS)
- A reliable backup and restoration facility
- Support for the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols
- Fast uptime
- Malware detection and protection
- Mitigation of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
- Firewall application
Most reliable web hosting services offer SSL certificates to encrypt the connection between the server and the visitor. Some web hosting services also provide methods to scan your website for malicious software.
If you own an e-commerce business, make sure that the web host is compliant with the current security standards of the Payment Card Industry (PCI).
Ensure Connection Encryption and Secure User Logins
After choosing a secure web host service provider, you should ensure that all your connections are encrypted. It is crucial if your website has any forms for registrations or transactions.
As we mentioned above, using an SSL certificate for your website is a good place to start. However, you can add more security to your website by implementing Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
You should prioritize the protection of web pages that require authentication by implementing a strong password standard. That way, you can ensure that your customers have to register using secure credentials.
You must take additional steps to store these passwords with the latest encryption standards. These standards make it impossible for hackers to get hold of passwords even if they breach your website data.
Implement a Web Application Firewall
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is an extremely useful tool to detect and prevent cyberattacks, especially from automatic hacking bots. WAF monitors the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which can be significantly more vulnerable to cyber attacks than HTTPS traffic.
A reliable WAF or a similar firewall tool can effectively reduce the chances of common cyber attacks, such as SQL injections, Malware attacks, Ransomware attacks, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), and others.
When you add a WAF to your website, it generates a shield between your site applications and the Internet services. Anyone trying to access your website will have to go through the firewall before reaching your server. Firewalls have a set of predefined rules that can filter out any suspicious web traffic, thus protecting your website from vulnerabilities.
Secure Your Database
An insecure database can make any website susceptible to hacks and cybercrimes. Naturally, you would store a lot of information about your business and clients on the website server. However, you should always ensure that the data you store is necessary to carry out your business activities.
So, clear out any excessive and sensitive data, such as card details, email addresses, phone numbers, or any other sensitive data that you do not need. Also, make sure that you use encryption services like Amazon’s AWS Aurora to secure any sensitive information that you store on your website server.
You should also compile a list of every tool that you use to store sensitive client data, including customer databases, GitHub, cloud storage, document systems, and any other.
Also, check whether your business can be subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) so that you can take necessary steps to avoid this non-compliance and face fines. Keep in mind that these policies can apply in different ways for various websites and projects.
Try Hacking Your Own Site
Once you have taken all the necessary steps to secure your website, try to hack it yourself. Trying to hack your own website is a form of a self-audit to see how your precautionary methods work against human or bot cyber attackers. You can begin with a penetration test in which you attempt to hack into your APIs and servers.
You can also ask other trusted developers or data users to participate in testing your web security efforts. Look for a detailed Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) checklist to learn more ways to test your website security.
Your website needs to have top-notch security to attract and retain customers, or they may not trust your business and move to your competitors. You can follow these security checks to ensure that your clients can use your website without the risk of losing their sensitive data.
If you face any challenges, you can always talk to your web development service providers to consider the best possible security options.